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Will virtual care transform the future of health?

Virtual care is about to disrupt today’s patient management and chronic disease program models, and is becoming increasingly critical enabling more personalised, patient-centric care.

Virtual care, otherwise known as telehealth, is the delivery of health-related services and information via a myriad of technology solutions. New studies have revealed that the implementation of a virtual care system can dramatically improve the overall health and outcomes of patients using the system.

One of the newest reports is the The Forrester Tech Tide™: Virtual Care For Digital Health, Q1 2018, which revealed in order to accelerate performance in virtual care, the pressure is on the healthcare sector to evaluate and adopt a range of contributing technologies.

Meanwhile Forrester’s new study, Virtual Care Enables The Digital Health Imperative, predicted virtual care is set to disrupt today's outpatient visit and chronic disease management program models. It stressed digital business strategy professionals must start implementing and integrating virtual care technologies to survive as healthcare moves from analog to digital business processes.

According to the report, “Healthcare organisations must provide convenient and cost-efficient care to survive as healthcare becomes a digital business. But they have been slow to react to the shift from analog, leaving customers unsatisfied with digital experiences that pale in comparison with other industries.”

The report goes on to say, “Virtual care technologies offer a range of customisable options to provide exceptional care through compelling digital experiences with fewer clinical resources. Healthcare digital business leaders need to quickly develop strategic business cases for the virtual care technologies that can help them keep pace and increase customer engagement.”

There are a number of ways in which virtual care is changing the world of healthcare. Virtual care offers patients a transparent view of healthcare, where they are able to influence how, where and when they will be treated.

Technology can enable patients in any location, urban, suburban and rural, the ability to access healthcare in more flexible ways than ever before. Patients can minimise travel time, effort and expense, while receiving personalised care in their own home. This convenience can help alleviate a lot of patient and caregiver burdens, opening up more time to focus on rest and recovery.

Video chats with patients can also offer more visual and deeper insights into the patient’s home environment and lifestyle, offering healthcare providers the ability to offer more personalised, patient-centric care. Healthcare providers may be able to focus on additional visual details of patient living conditions, which may be overlooked during in-person office appointments or over the phone.

But the healthcare industry lags in its adoption of digital to meet patient needs and adopt virtual care technologies to better provide advanced patient care. In order to evolve to keep up with a changing landscape, healthcare organisations can work with the right digital partners to assess and implement cost-efficient digital solutions. Moving forward, the continued adoption of virtual care is set to transform the delivery of healthcare towards greater personalised, flexible and transparent, improving patient satisfaction and health outcomes.

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