Advances in Virtual Care

Advances in Virtual Care Delivery: New Telemedicine Experiences

There has been an Interesting variety of recent articles focusing on the expansion of and advances in virtual care delivery services.  As the usage of telemedicine services increases, there are some key takeaways highlighted in this month’s trends.  The need for improving the virtual care experience for both patients and providers will be key in driving an increase in utilization.

  • UnitedHealthcare to Launch New Virtual-First Health Plan to Help People Access a Dedicated Care Team 24/7 and Obtain Quality Care at a Lower Cost NavigateNOW is a new “virtual-first” health plan designed to provide people with a personalized virtual care team to provide medical and behavioral health services with a seamless hand-off for in-person treatment if needed. New health plan for select employers helps improve health outcomes and creates a simpler experience while offering members $0 copays for common services, unlimited 24/7 access to care, and reducing plan premiums by approximately 15%
  • Digital health ecosystems: Voices of key healthcare leaders  In this McKinsey & Company article, they discuss the “importance and potential of evolving digital health ecosystems, particularly for healthcare stakeholders”. COVID-19 has made it more pressing than ever to integrate online and offline offerings and to establish integrated health ecosystems. 
    • Digital health ecosystems have become increasingly relevant since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Integrating core products into digital health ecosystems and offering patient journeys are seen as critical
    • Convenience is seen as the main success factor for customers, followed by trust and impact on health outcomes
    • Clear strategic direction and cultural transformations are seen as the main success factors for implementation, as well as collaborating with the right partners and having technological know-how
  • Telehealth Usage Surging but Service Issues and Barriers to Access Strain Patient Experience  Following are some key findings of the J.D. Power 2021 telehealth satisfaction study 
    • Telehealth adoption spikes across all generations in 2021: Overall, 36% of patients have accessed telehealth services during the past year, up from just 9% in 2020 and 7% in 2019. Usage is consistent across all generational groups, with the highest usage among members of Generation Y and Pre-Boomers.1
    • Convenience, speed and safety drive utilization: The top reasons for telehealth utilization are convenience (57%); ability to receive care quickly (47%); and safety (36%).
    • Patient satisfaction declines as pain points emerge: Overall satisfaction with both direct-to-consumer and payer-sponsored telehealth services decline in 2021 from 2020. The most frequently cited barriers encountered by patients are limited services (24%); lack of awareness of costs (15%); confusing technology requirements (15%); and lack of information about providers (15%).
    • Uneven care for higher-risk patients: Overall satisfaction is 85 points lower (on a 1,000-point scale) among patients with the lowest self-reported health status than among patients who consider themselves to be in excellent health. Similarly, healthier patients are more likely than less healthy patients to understand the information provided during the visit; say they receive clear explanations; perceive that their visits are highly personalized, and obtain high-quality diagnoses.

By the way, in a recent webinar, three of our customers, NYCH+H, Heritage Valley Health Systems, and Referwell, reviewed how they are innovating in virtual care. You can read the blog post here.

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