COVID-19 pandemic has caused a tremendous increase in adoption and utilization of telemedicine and virtual care. Many providers were forced to adapt due to social distancing measures, only to realize that they can be just as effective using virtual modality. A growing number of patients no longer believe that physical presence is required to get great care.
Virtual care modalities available to practitioners and patients are quite varied and include: chat, chatbots, photos, document exchange, live video, recorded video, voice, mobile apps, augmented reality apps, wearables, consumer medical devices and experiences where several modalities are integrated together.
The shift towards virtual care is very broad, but the adoption is uneven across various health and wellness specialties. This is driven by the following factors:
- Some specialties were traditionally considered difficult to move to virtual due to the need of physical examination of the patient.
- Other specialties rely on tried-and-true processes for care provision. These processes were designed before the advent of virtual care and are incompatible with virtual care modalities.
- There isn’t enough information on the safety or efficacy of using virtual care to provide a specific care, making practitioner uneasy to use this modality.