Virtual Health Care

Does virtual care fall into the same category as telehealth? In this article we will discuss virtual care or on demand health care and help explain just what it is and how it works. We live in a time where we have the internet at our disposal 24/7. There are services and businesses that will deliver goods immediately and respond to you immediately. A recent survey conducted showed that 60 percent of American households that have access to the internet are interested in remote medical care that they could access either online or by a telephone. We want to have our health care professionals come to us, rather than us having to travel to them. This is what virtual care is all about. Having doctors, nurses and other health care professionals available to consult with us from the comfort of our own home. How will this change the health care industry and what exactly does it cover?

Virtual health care is where you have a visit virtually. This is done between patients and their health care providers through communication with technology. It can be a video or audio chat that allows appointments to be had in real time from any location. It can be a video visit between a doctor and a patient who is at their home. It could be where a patient is able to meet with a medical specialist who is offsite and they can have a conference video or chat with each party at their own location. Specialists are found all over the country, and in days passed, one would have to travel to have direct communication with different specialists. Now day’s specialists are able to consult on cases from all over via technology. Virtual healthcare allows patients to more easily get a second opinion on cases and medical conditions. 

There has been a form of virtual care that has been around for a while. These were mainly for the purpose of having meeting and consultations. They could also cover check ins and updates on status reports. Now they can also be used for in depth diagnosis and treatment plans. Virtual health care allows medical professionals to monitor medical situations and follow ups from procedure from those people who are located in a remote location. People with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension are able to be monitored from their home and have had a high success rate. In the past these types of illnesses have been shown to have repercussions from not getting the medical communication and information that is needed on a more consistent level. Hospitalizations have been more prevalent because it hasn’t been as easy to stay in communication with their health care professionals. Now with the click of the button these patients are able to communicate more frequently and are able to manage their disease more so that they can stay healthy for longer periods of time. 

Whenever a patient is treated remotely, it is referred to as telehealth, so it’s easy to see that virtual health care is often used simultaneously with telemedicine. But they are actually quite different. Virtual health care is a component of telehealth, but it has so much of a broader aspect associated with it. Telehealth is a category that provides service to patients from a distance. This could be doctors visiting people at a distance. It could mean doctor’s treating chronic condition and managing it. It could mean managing a high risk pregnancy. All of these conditions can be treated from a distance, so technically the doctors are doing it remotely. The technology associated with telehealth may include a telephone; it could be doing a video conference call. It could be any number of technology communication forms. But the main idea is that you are using technology to gather information and exchange that information with others. 

So as you can see, it can be confusing and easy to confuse the two methods of treatment. But the fact is, is that there is definitely a demand for virtual medical care. It can help lower out of pocket cost and help ease the burden of time and travel for patients. There are many areas throughout the country that are considered rural and small town. These types of areas struggle to attract doctors and nurses. So especially in these types of areas where travel would be necessary for patients, virtual care is welcome and accepted. It takes a lot of strain off people who don’t have close access to medical professionals. 

It has also been shown that people actually have a higher satisfaction rating while using virtual care. There is 97 percent satisfaction rate among patients. And 74 percent of people have stated that they feel their relationship with their health care provider has actually improved since using virtual care. People are able to connect with their providers more regularly and actually build a relationship with them. They feel comfortable talking to their doctors and nurses. They don’t feel like virtual visits are as much as an inconvenience. They are more willing to make those appointments to discuss conditions or issues that they aren’t quite sure need immediate medical attention but would rather be safe than sorry. It helps start the conversation of what may be going on. Plus if it really isn’t a medical issue they need to be concerned about, no one is upset because of the time and money it took to actually go visit a doctor. Most patients are able to take care of their medical issues virtually. This helps free up the space and medical equipment at hospitals and doctors’ offices for those who can’t be treated virtually. 

Virtual healthcare is here to help improve your quality of life. It helps create relationships between doctors and patients. It helps patients schedule their appointments in a more efficient time frame that fits into their lives. We live in a busy world where people are constantly on the go. It is easier to stay on top of your medical issues when you are able to take your appointments at your convenience.