While the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted the world, effectively sending industries and billions of lives into a grinding halt, it has also notably accelerated the pace of remote technology. As various sectors, particularly the medical industry, grappled with social distancing regulations, they have turned to online technologies to continue delivering their services. Now that vaccine distribution is well underway, it looks like the world is slowly opening back up, offering a semblance of normalcy. Still, it seems like telehealth is here to stay, accounting for a large percentage of care during the pandemic’s peak.
Even with the incredible efficiency and convenience that telehealth delivers, no one could have predicted the surge in 2020. Many providers, patients, and employers weren’t ready to accommodate the rapid change. Before the onset of COVID-19, only 24 percent of U.S. healthcare organizations had a telehealth program. Digital care will only continue to be an essential aspect of healthcare services, emphasizing remote patient monitoring, allowing more patients from lower-income thresholds to benefit from it.
Now that social distancing protocols are easing up, providers, employers, and payers must determine their long-term strategies to future-proof care delivery. Here are three predictions for the future of digital care in 2021 and beyond:
Digital Chronic Care Management Will Become More Popular
When the healthcare industry shifted to virtual care after COVID-19, many patients skipped appointments or postponed face-to-face encounters altogether, including annual wellness visits. This phenomenon has left the most vulnerable even at higher risk for worsened symptoms, as these patients have missed out on diagnostic services, potentially exacerbating their symptoms.
However, now that urgent care is back on the horizon, medical professionals are exploring ways to provide a more holistic healthcare model. For this reason, many of them are expected to shift to a hybrid approach, combining both in-person and online appointments. With more employers welcoming chronic care management, they can now be reimbursed for telehealth appointments for patients with two or more comorbidities. By deploying the appropriate remote monitoring devices, they can improve their patients’ quality of life and create a more collaborative care atmosphere.
Personalized Care Will Determine Engagement
Before COVID-19, patients were generally satisfied by connecting to any healthcare provider in a specific discipline. However, now that most healthcare providers offer telehealth consultations or other virtual care options for patients, it is no longer a unique value proposition. For practices to continue attracting new patients, they’ll have to personalize their services even more, even when it becomes completely safe to see patients in face-to-face appointments.
Additionally, people have begun to schedule virtual appointments with their doctors for non-urgent reasons. As patients have a wide range of choices in healthcare providers, practices will need to tailor the services they provide even further to avoid losing patients to other clinics.
Technology Will Provide Better Access to Healthcare Experts
Lastly, the future of digital care in 2021 and beyond looks especially promising for high-needs patients. These individuals require access to top physicians and specialists, and technology allows them to reach these experts anytime, anywhere. For instance, engaging in virtual care programs will enable the patient to remain comfortable at home while discussing and having frequent “visits” or check-ins with their care team, saving them time, money, and stress.
Technology has also allowed people to get a second opinion for life-changing diagnoses, such as cancer. If patients can access these health specialists at any time, they can receive the best possible care and treatment for their condition.
Digital care, including remote patient monitoring, will only continue to surge in popularity. Given the incredible convenience and accessibility it offers, it opens numerous possibilities for patients, employers, and healthcare providers to explore healthcare options that best fit their unique situation.
Medistics Health aims to simplify your patients’ health through our remote patient monitoring system, ensuring they adhere to the treatment plan prescribed to them. We work with patients and providers to transform the healthcare experience and care delivery by assigning a dedicated care manager to each qualifying patient. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!