What is Virtual Care? Connecting to the best available care at one tap
Delivering medical advice and support has evolved its way to a more accessible route up to date.
Virtual care or telehealth may seem very new to us especially since the pandemic has taken over the world. Rapid changes took place in the last 1 year and it took us all by surprise to adapt to the new rules and options available. This includes our usual health visits and doctor appointments. Fortunately, we are living in the 21st century where we can all connect with a tap and swipe of the finger which brings us to the option of connecting with doctors via the internet.
But, what is virtual care?
Virtual care or virtual healthcare is a method of healthcare delivery via the internet that using any form of communication or information exchange between a healthcare provider or care team and patients. The aim of virtual care is to assist patient care and maximize its effectiveness.
Virtual care encompasses:
- Virtual consultations
- Remote monitoring
- A command center where data are being kept according to the privacy and protection regulation
- Heath educational materials and training
- Communication channels
- Health planning and tracking
When did virtual care begin?
Delivering medical advice and support has evolved its way to a more accessible route up to date. From the use of radios to send out medical advice in the 1920’s to crews on a ship to the beginning of telemedicine via video conference to provide psychiatric therapy to patients as well as to train medical students at the Nebraska state hospital. Now, virtual healthcare has been introduced to add more value to a platform where care can be delivered beyond video consultations and diagnosis. But also, as a platform for people to use for early diagnosis, track their wellbeing and self-manage their condition whenever and wherever they want.
So, why is virtual care needed now?
Telemedicine and telehealth, which are also a form of health delivery especially for patients living out far in the rural areas. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC) sees telehealth as a true potential to support people with chronic diseases and chronic diseases have been the major public health concern of the 21st century. Chronic diseases require long term management which may be difficult to live with due to continuous management, observation and care. We can see a lot of mobile apps and websites that offer care to patients with chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, musculoskeletal related and of course, gastrointestinal related. Many of these apps have also proven their efficacy when it comes to improving the well-being of compliant users
Is virtual care the future?
Virtual care has high promises especially from what we have seen in the last 2 years. In a consumer report by Mckinsey, there was an increase of 59% in 2020 compared to 2019. The surge was mostly in response to the pandemic that has taken the world in a blink of an eye. Interestingly, the majority of the respondents of the survey will be moving forward with virtual healthcare services. To consumers, virtual healthcare serves as a demand healthcare service where it is convenient and accessible for them anywhere and anytime. Virtual healthcare is also cost saving for both the patients and healthcare providers.
This is an exciting time for healthcare as both parties, patients and doctors, get to be involved in various new technologies like wearables technologies and the adaptation of robotics and AI.