In short, telehealth is here to stay.
Introducing telehealth 2.0: From the video visit to longitudinal care
Perhaps the largest benefit of the momentum in virtual-care adoption is that, two-plus years later, we are seeing unprecedented levels of innovation in healthcare — an industry long overdue for disruption. Thousands of new and growing companies are harnessing billions of dollars in investment to build upon the existing benefits of telehealth. Health systems, payors, and employers alike have quickly recognized that virtual healthcare delivery can improve many aspects of the industry, for example by preventing costly ER admissions for issues that can be resolved virtually.
Beyond that, virtual-first companies are offering digital services in areas like nutrition counseling, pregnancy care, and behavioral health to create better outcomes for their clients while reducing systemic costs.
In this setting, the actual video visit is just one component — even a fairly small component — of the overall patient experience, which stretches across many synchronous and asynchronous interactions. For example, patients can participate in online programs and educational webinars to increase their own knowledge. Meanwhile, they also benefit from regular virtual reviews by clinicians to ensure that they are adhering to goals and making steady progress with their personalized care plans.
This is what the future of what healthcare delivery should look like. Because of its affordability and convenience, telehealth is ideal for helping clinicians across many specialties effectively address longitudinal aspects of an individual's health journey and, crucially, to do it with much greater continuity. That combines the power of technology with the expertise of a healthcare team to create new and better patient experiences — and health outcomes. Not only is this better for keeping patients in better health, but programs like these often foster exactly the type of provider-patient relationships that many consumers actively want.
Towards the future: Building on unprecedented momentum
Now is the time to build on the momentum of Telehealth 2.0 and usher in this new way of delivering care as the new norm, not an exception. In the past, insightful approaches like these have been badly under-represented, not to mention under-billed. Today, however, new technology and changed expectations from patients and clinicians make it easier than ever for healthcare providers to create virtual-first longitudinal care programs.