Virtual Care: The Patient Perspective

COVID-19 has dramatically changed the healthcare landscape in ways we never imagined. One of the most visible and significant changes has been the shift from in-person office appointments to virtual visits — and if patients have any say in the matter, it’s a change that’s here to stay. 

In fact, virtual care has made such an impact that, in a recent survey by Kyruus, half of those surveyed indicated that they would continue to use virtual care even if their insurance didn’t cover it.

Now it’s up to healthcare providers to scale their existing offerings, create new programs, or tailor current ones to meet the demands of the virtual medical care consumer if they want to stay ahead of the game. 

But what does the post-COVID medical consumer want in virtual care? The Kyruus report gives us some insights into who’s accessing virtual care, what they like about it, and what providers can do to make the experience better and retain patients.

Virtual visits aren’t just for checkups

While a large number of people (41%) did schedule routine appointments such as checkups virtually, an even larger number used virtual care for less mundane reasons.

  • 30% scheduled virtual visits for care for a chronic condition, such as diabetes
  • 24% made the appointment for an acute onset problem such as pain or other sudden symptoms
  • 21% scheduled mental healthcare appointments virtually
  • 18% used virtual visits for followup after a surgical procedure

Most would also be willing to use virtual care again for all of these situations.

Patients want virtual care, and they’re willing to switch providers to get it

86% of those surveyed agreed that access to virtual care made them more satisfied with their provider or current healthcare system. 50% were willing to switch providers if the switch meant they could have virtual visits on a regular basis. 

This was particularly true of Millennials and Gen-Xers, but Boomers too were surprisingly receptive to the idea.

Followup could be more effective

While overall patient satisfaction is high, there is definitely room for improvement — especially in the arena of followup. Only 35% of those surveyed reported that their primary care provider followed up with them, and fewer than half finished their visit understanding what the next steps were. 

Virtual care is new to providers as well as patients, and many practices might benefit from an examination of the flow of care from appointment booking to follow up.

One thing is certain: virtual care is here to stay. Virtual visits are the new housecall, and it’s up to providers to streamline their services to meet patients’ expectations. 

To read all the insights, download the full report.  

Brett Cleary

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