Virtual care or telehealth connects patients and caregivers through video using a computer or a mobile device. Patients can communicate with qualified healthcare professionals such as board-certified doctors, nurse practitioners, or licensed therapists and psychiatrists, directly from the comfort of their home.
Virtual care is faster and more accessible for patients and is also more cost effective. For patients without access to transportation or those living far from the nearest hospital or doctor’s office, telehealth is the most convenient option for receiving healthcare. It’s also proving to be well-accepted by healthcare professionals as they take charge of their schedules by making virtual visits from any location, not just from the office or the hospital. Telehealth is allowing healthcare professionals to extend their reach to patients outside of their immediate area and become more competitive in the market.
Telehealth became more popular in 2020 after the onset of the Covid19 pandemic when in-person appointments were not possible, and doctors and hospitals were canceling non-Covid related office visits. At the time, the government increased access to telehealth by removing regulatory barriers in an effort to reduce exposure to the virus and to maintain pandemic safety protocols.
Ever since, the use of telehealth has become more prevalent. A study published by McKinsey & Company found a 38 fold increase in the use of telehealth from pre-Covid19 baseline. The same study showed 40 percent of consumers surveyed indicated they would continue using telehealth – up from 11% pre-pandemic. Furthermore, a study published by Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker indicated that the upward trend in telehealth also resulted in a 19 percent increase in general outpatient visits during the same period with adoption highest among children, followed by adults, and then by the elderly.
Successful virtual care providers need to set clear expectations on what can and cannot be treated through a video chat visit. The prevailing use cases for virtual care tend to focus on urgent care, behavioral health therapy, dermatology, and wellness and primary care, including ordering lab tests and analyzing results.
According to Cigna, more and more patients are accessing behavioral care and mental health services through virtual care. And McKinsey reported the highest uptake of telehealth in psychiatry (50%) and substance abuse (30%).
Market size and investments
Globally, the telehealth market is projected to be worth $224.8 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 18.8% from 2021 to 2030. The same McKinsey study found a huge surge in venture capital investments in virtual health with annualized investments of $25 billion to $30 billion in 2021 with anticipated growth in the coming years. In addition, total revenue of the top 60 virtual health players increased in 2020 to $5.5 billion, from around $3 billion the year before.
McKensie estimates “$250 billion of US healthcare spend could potentially be shifted to virtual or virtually enabled care….It would likely require sustained consumer and clinician adoption and accelerated redesign of care pathways to incorporate virtual modalities.”
The telehealth business model: A virtual telehealth system to address the longitudinal needs of patients across multiple healthcare specialties
With more patients and professionals adopting telehealth, the use of video chat solutions will expand significantly as the primary mode of communication between patients and caregivers.
As reported by NPR, while during the initial surges of the pandemic in 2020 to mid 2021, Federal and state restrictions on audio and visual access for telehealth were lifted, many states are now reinstating restrictions on audio access and limiting telehealth only to visual modes, i.e., video chat.
To sustain this momentum in telehealth in the post-pandemic world, hospital systems, doctors’ groups, insurance companies, and even employee benefits groups are focusing their efforts on unified collaboration systems with a seamless consumer interface, improved data integration and insights, and above all the ability to ensure patient confidentiality and security. Any data exchanged during virtual visits must meet encryption and regulatory compliance standards set by HIPA, GDPR, and other international regulations.
The best solutions for telehealth are those that make it easy for the patient to connect to the healthcare provider. This means using technologies they are comfortable with: clicking on a link on their mobile phone, tablet, or computer to join a video chat with the doctor. Similarly, the systems should easily integrate with the providers’ existing health applications and workflows to also support virtual collaboration amongst teams of doctors, nurses, and office administrators.
Eazyshow: The Future of Professional to Client Engagement
Eazyshow offers the tools healthcare providers need to build a seamless telehealth interface. This includes an embedded video chat from the provider’s website or integrated with an existing patient portal. Eazyshow delivers a secure video chat service, including the ability to verify the patient, record the chat session, and upload encrypted recordings to the provider’s server. This allows better supervision of the quality of service and a better way to meet regulatory requirements.
With Eazyshow, any remote-healthcare professional can consult with or guide a website visitor to locate pertinent information, understand procedures, or receive instructions for medical preparations prior to surgery or tests. The consultation is provided via a live, web-based video chat session, where documents or pages may be viewed and discussed together by the service provider and patient synchronously.
Get acquainted with the features and benefits of Eazyshow. Book a demo today.