Virtual care is one of the latest technology advancement in healthcare which is reshaping how, when, and where care is delivered. Virtual care helps a patient become more mindful and motivated in addressing their ongoing health and well-being. As a result, the patient becomes part of the process of healthcare and not just the recipient of the care.
- Mindful: Virtual care communication platforms help the patient better understand his/her condition, treatment plan, and role in managing one’s health post-discharge. Because a patient can access care from one’s home and at a time when one might be more responsive to a provider’s message, virtual care supports patient education efforts. Providers can also use the video-based virtual visits to “bring to life” discharge protocols, medication guides, and the overall treatment plan while discussing it within the context of the patient’s routine at home.
- Motivated: Healthcare organizations are recognizing the benefits of using text, SMS, and/or email to communicate appointment updates, medication dosage and refill reminders, and diet/lifestyle recommendations to their patients. Using technology to engage patients is more efficient than typical phone calls and voicemails which typically result in considerable “back and forth” between patients and providers. Technology is also helping to engage patients more effectively as patients appreciate being “kept in the know” about how they can take care of their health on a daily basis.
Virtual care also helps a healthcare organization better monitor and manage their patient populations.
- Monitoring: During the virtual visits, providers can quickly identify and immediately act upon a patient’s emerging issue – whether that means including a pharmacist in a call to review the medication protocol, incorporating a clinician to address a patient’s changing condition, or even reaching out to EMS for urgent intervention.
- Managing: By reviewing how and when a patient is interacting with the messaging, administrators can optimize their staff schedule around patient preferences for virtual visits. Patient-driven staffing helps ensure that the most appropriate information and care is communicated to a patient at the most appropriate time for the patient – and in the most preferred manner by the patient.
Capturing and leveraging patient choice will ultimately transform how the healthcare ecosystem delivers care. Providers will appreciate the ability to drive more impactful collaboration amongst their colleagues. Patients will value the ability to have more meaningful interactions with their providers.