When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, healthcare providers acted quickly to protect their staff and patients by implementing new processes and procedures as well as new technologies.
A year later, this way of practicing healthcare has become the new normal. Now as vaccines roll out, providers are evaluating their virtual care strategies to meet ongoing practice and patient needs.
To understand where healthcare is headed, we must first recognize how far we’ve come in just one year.
Reflecting on the Past to Make Way for the Future of Healthcare
At the onset of the pandemic, health systems and practices were operating at max capacity and needed a better way to triage patients. Providers turned to technology to keep up during uncertain times. For instance:
- Congress passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act which allowed providers to deliver care through telehealth during the pandemic and adoption quickly spiked.
- Many physicians onboarded electronic fax solutions, as the pandemic highlighted inefficient processes brought on by outdated technology. For example, nearly 40% of Americans had to wait more than three days for their COVID-19 test results due to the large influx of paperwork being shared via traditional fax machines. This delay caused the results to be less clinically meaningful.
- Practices began doing away with crowded waiting rooms to mitigate exposure by designing contactless check-in processes through Secure Text, Electronic Forms and more.
After adopting technology solutions during the pandemic, many physicians and providers began to realize the importance of having a virtual care strategy in place to make way for the future of their practice. To illustrate, according to our recent customer survey only 30% of respondents thought a virtual care strategy was important pre-COVID-19. Now, 75% think it’s a must have going forward.
Strengthening Your Virtual Care Strategy
It’s clear - virtual care has become ingrained in practices’ workflows and part of the patient experience. A majority of providers implemented one or more virtual care solutions in 2020, and over 65% of our customers say they have a virtual care strategy in place whether they are utilizing one or several solutions. The priority now is building on what was implemented last year and making your virtual care strategy more seamless in 2021.
Going forward, practices are looking to enhance their virtual care strategies as they onboard additional solutions and continuously seek to improve patient care. As part of this process, it’ll be important to keep one of the biggest lessons learned from the pandemic top of mind -- the need for flexibility. While we can’t predict the future, we can prepare for uncertainties. With the right technology in place, your practice can build a virtual care strategy that is adaptable based on your practice’s needs and shifting patient expectations.
For instance, considering office productivity solutions can improve your back and front-office staff efficiency. Or, offering a mix of virtual and in-person care options can help meet evolving patient demands.
Want to learn more about the tools and strategies to build an effective long-term virtual care strategy? Learn from some of our customers on how they’ve implemented virtual care strategies into their workflow to support their practices now and in the future.