Developing A Virtual Care Strategy

The rise, fall, and rise again of COVID-19 has made one thing absolutely clear: the future of medicine lies in virtual care.

While most healthcare organizations (HCO) used some form of telehealth or virtual-first care before the COVID-19 shutdowns of 2020, many discovered their solutions were inadequate. They needed to revamp their care strategies to fit their workflows. Many of their solutions could not keep up with the surge of interest in virtual care.

Healthcare organizations that develop a strategic virtual care plan–one that is both flexible and nimble–will better engage patients while giving them better care. On the other hand, those that do not develop a long-term virtual care plan will forever play catch-up, missing opportunities to improve patient engagement.

Let’s look at what it takes to develop a resilient virtual care strategy for your healthcare organization.

What is a virtual care strategy?

A virtual care strategy is the way a healthcare organization decides to implement virtual-first care into their existing care plan.  

A virtual care strategy is a cost- and resource-efficient way to deliver healthcare to patients while improving the patient’s overall care. It addresses not only the tools that make a telehealth appointment possible, but it also improves on the healthcare process as a whole. HCO’s develop virtual care strategies to manage the entire patient experience, from scheduling an appointment to completing follow-up care.

To succeed, the entire care experience must be intuitive and feel seamless for the patient and their provider.

Steps To Establishing Your Strategy:

Choose the right fit virtual care platform for your organization.

  • List the integrations your organization requires.
  • Look for a platform with a history of true interoperability.
  • Find a virtual care platform that improves the experience for everyone involved. In other words, it should not create extra work for your providers.
  • Take a patient-centric approach. Choose a flexible virtual care platform that will not require additional apps, downloads, or log-ins.

Remember, the best virtual care platforms help your providers meet the patients where they are most comfortable, using whatever technology is available.

Give your patients a choice.

In general, virtual care is popular among patients and hospital staff members. In this report by McKinsey patient favorability towards virtual care had increased 4X and 57% of physicians favor continue using it. But how you handle the patients who do not want (or do not understand) virtual care is crucial.

  • Virtual or in-person. Giving patients options shows that you value their experience and preferences.
  • High-tech or low-tech. Giving patients technology options when they interact with providers on their virtual calls will engage more patients. For example, with the right virtual care platform, you can make it possible for people without smart phones to still have a positive virtual care experience.

Monitor and adapt.

Regulations will change. Patient interest will change. Provider interest will change. New technologies will emerge. Choose a virtual care platform that can grow and flex with you.

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The use of telehealth has stabilized at levels 38x higher than before the pandemic according to this report by McKinsey. It is expected to keep growing into a larger industry as consumers and health care providers both enjoy it. A ranking of telehealth use across different medical specialties is listed.

Xtelligent healthcare media presents five guidelines to establishing a post-pandemic telehealth strategy. They recommend putting patients first, moving online, and creating a hybrid virtual and in-person system. 

This article by Dr. Harold Picken explains virtual care and provides the reasons it is valuable for so many people. Dr Picken’s data is backed by a recent survey done by Vidyo.

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