Understandably, remote or virtual healthcare experienced a massive spike in 2020. A recent survey showed that a vast majority of people who tried remote healthcare services are open to continuing to do so, even post-pandemic, whether via SMS (78%), email (80%), mobile applications (81%), phone calls (83%), or video consultation (91%).
Clearly, then, remote services and support are swiftly and inexorably becoming must-haves for the healthcare industry. In fact, it’s been suggested that virtual care may actually be preferable for certain types of treatment, such as chronic disease management and mental health consultation – cases in which physical trips to a medical facility might be unnecessary and possibly even detrimental for the patient.
Technological developments are also opening virtual doors for more traditionally hands-on issues, including an app that enables assessment of patient vitals via smart device cameras, continuous glucose monitoring devices for diabetics, and wearable sensors that can be used to guide physical therapy sessions.
But what’s even more important than bleeding-edge tech is the ability to provide patient—and physician—experiences that are at least on par with face-to-face interactions. This means that remote healthcare providers need to be able to offer:
- Patient-physician matching – Whether through app, AI, or customer experience agent, the process of connecting each patient with an appropriate practitioner – as well as determining whether the patient’s concern can even be handled remotely – needs to be accurate and all but instant.
- Communication, documentation, and follow-up – With the proper setup, these can be superior to a typical hospital or clinic set-up, perhaps with sessions automatically recorded and forwarded for transcription, and payment, reminders, and follow-up care similarly automated.
- Privacy and security – Since remote care necessitates multiple points of entry into a healthcare provider’s network, it’s more crucial than ever to guarantee expertise in not just data security but also HIPAA and all other relevant privacy regulatory standards.
There’s certainly a lot to consider. But with an effectively designed and managed system, remote healthcare can help healthcare providers lower costs, increase efficiency, improve the experience for patients and practitioners alike – and help even more people, when, where, and how they need it, especially in these trying times.