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Consumers have expressed strong interest and experience in using virtual care to manage their healthcare according to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions’ February/March 2018 study on consumers’ attitudes and experiences with the health care system.  The study highlights the following key findings:

  • 75% of respondents use technology receive medication alerts.
  • 59% of respondents use technology to request medication refills.
  • 57% of respondents are interested in having a virtual visit while 23% have already had a virtual visit. Most who have tried virtual visits report a high level of satisfaction (77%).

Consumer adoption of technology in their daily life will influence their comfort level in using technology to also engage in their healthcare.  The authors of the Deloitte study emphasize that “smartphones, apps, and websites may not be able to help consumers take care of every health care need [but] technology can help them monitor their health and make informed decisions about their care… Understanding these habits could help providers improve the adoption of virtual health within this population. When deciding how to approach virtual health, it is important that health systems and physicians understand the needs and preferences of the populations with whom they want to engage.”

Virtual Care: Affordability, Agenda, Access

Although the needs and preferences of the populations may differ by level of technology adoption and usage in one’s daily life, the underlying consumer interest in using virtual care is driven by affordability, agenda, and access.  The Accenture 2018 Consumer Survey on Digital Health reports that more than half (54%) of consumers believe virtual care reduces medical costs to patients.  Consumers also envision advantages in virtual care options being able to better accommodate their own schedules (49%) and provide more timely care (43%).  The Accenture study asserts that consumers want virtual care options so they can receive care on their own terms, regardless of the status of their health.

Understanding how to implement a virtual care platform that reflects consumers’ technology habits and preferences is critical to healthcare organizations who seek to provide their patients/members with greater access to convenient, timely and quality care.  Making it easier for patients/members to receive HIPAA-compliant care – and also engage in their healthcare on an ongoing basis – will maximize health outcomes and financial outcomes for the overall healthcare system.