The path forward for virtual care

Teladoc Health | January 26, 2021

While growth and adoption of virtual care services marched steadily during the past decade, the global pandemic resulted in a dramatic shift in telehealth services. A McKinsey & Company study shows that adoption rapidly increased from 11% of consumers in 2019 to 46% by the end of May 2020.

The growing recognition that virtual care is much more than a typical urgent care visit means the health care industry is well on its way to realizing the power and potential of whole-person virtual care.

This whole-person path forward will be shaped and defined by five key perspectives.

1) Whole-person virtual care is essential care

Whole-person virtual care augments and extends care delivery—both episodically and longitudinally—to help close widening gaps across strained global health care systems. Integrated, whole-person virtual care spans every stage of the health journey: from wellness and prevention and acute care, to chronic conditions and complex health care needs.

It creates a complete understanding of each person using novel and traditional types of data. And whole-person virtual care helps to produce better health outcomes using proprietary health signals and personalized interactions across the full continuum of care. Personalized virtual care powers a longitudinal relationship with the whole person, driving better outcomes every step of the way.

2) Global delivery of quality care at scale is possible
Quality care can be difficult to achieve in resource-constrained areas where access to medical equipment, lack of infrastructure and limited training in specialty care exist. Whole-person virtual care, fueled by real-time data from connected devices, opens new avenues to elevate clinical quality at scale. When clinicians deliver care virtually, each interaction fuels an active learning environment that can lead to direct improvements in how quality care is delivered. This infusion of data, translated to actionable insights, enables care providers to practice at the top of their license, delivering better health outcomes for all.

3) A hybrid model of collaborative care has arrived
In 2020, clinicians, primary care providers, specialists and mental health experts turned to virtual care to stay connected with patients when in-person office visits and procedures were often impossible. During this time, one important role of whole-person virtual care became clear: to connect a fragmented health care system. But virtual care wasn’t created to fully replace in-person care. Instead, a new collaborative hybrid model emerged. Combining traditional, in-person health care visits with virtual care expands the capability and capacity of health systems, removing geographic barriers to care, enhancing care team collaboration across specialties—including mental health—and enabling clinicians to maintain continuity of care.

4) Technology transforms the healthcare experience
Global consumers have widely adopted digital services and use them daily. Highly personalized, efficient and convenient experiences influence consumer expectations in every aspect of life – including health care. Whole-person virtual care delivers increasingly personalized experiences and drives digital-first use patterns. Applied behavioral and engagement science builds meaningful experiences and exceptional consumer engagement – proactive nudges encourage people to take the next heath action. Combining technology with human interaction, personalization and clinical expertise positively transforms the health care experience.

5) Equitable access is fundamental to whole-person care
Today, half the world’s population cannot obtain essential health care. Virtual comprehensive medical and mental health care services help alleviate access and affordability issues. To meet the health care needs of global populations, we must overcome three specific hurdles:

  • Access to convenient, affordable care.
  • Access to specialty care.
  • Access to personalized care.

Whole-person virtual care is primed to play an essential role in the health care ecosystem. Without question, the opportunity for transformation is upon us. Now is the time to realize the promise and full potential of virtual care. Access Teladoc Health’s latest thinking on the path forward for virtual care here.

About the Author

Teladoc Health, Author

Teladoc Health is the global virtual care leader, offering the only comprehensive virtual care solution spanning telehealth, mental health, expert medical, and licensed platform services. Teladoc Health serves the world's leading insurers, employers, and health systems and helps millions of people around the world resolve their healthcare needs with confidence. Learn more at