Virtual care was a necessity during the pandemic. What happens now?
The potential of a virtual heath ecosystem is vast and exciting. It offers the benefits of low cost, low friction self-service fulfillment to anyone with internet access. Well-designed digital tools can triage patients to the right care in the right setting. Interactive devices can confirm medication adherence or passively escalate non-adherence before it becomes non-compliance and causes illness or worse. AI-enabled early identification of rising risks can trigger interventions before sick care is otherwise required. Virtual care makes it possible to maintain health for people living with chronic conditions. And perhaps most important, a virtual care ecosystem of connected apps and devices is the infrastructure long needed to power value-based care models.
Unprecedented top-down organizational decision-making sanctioned rapid deployment of virtual care during a public health crisis. As the pandemic threat fades, payers and health systems may now pull back on their liberal financial support for virtual care amid concerns that unmanaged access to virtual care may fragment continuity and actually result in higher medical expenses. t’s timely, therefore, to re-examine the tactics executed in the middle of the pandemic, to frame how best to integrate virtual care into a strategy for what we expect will be hybrid care models that leverage physical resources, clinical talent, medical device & therapeutic innovations, and digital technologies.
Executives will recognize these concerns as growing pains and continue to favor frequent experimentation and execution to maintain the momentum of digital transformation that the pandemic catalyzed. Functional leaders will update procurement processes to prioritize finding, fostering and funding the innovations that put the consumer at the center of everything they do.