The Evolving Virtual Healthcare Delivery Model

The Evolving Virtual Healthcare Delivery Model

It is no secret that there has been an evolution in the healthcare industry over the past 120 years. As technology has advanced, so too has the healthcare model, in which technology plays a bigger role than ever. The advancement of technology has allowed physicians and providers to monitor and treat patients remotely, ultimately changing the entire healthcare experience. GuideIT is here to help providers navigate through the changing healthcare landscape by creating roadmaps for seamless technology integration. Here is everything you need to know about the technological innovations in healthcare and how GuideIT can help providers:

A Transition to Virtual Healthcare

At the turn of the 20th century, most people were receiving their healthcare at home in the form of physician house calls. The healthcare model was fragmented and mostly powered by individual physicians, rather than the centralized model we see today. By the late 20th century, we saw an office-centric approach where individual physicians had their own place of care, requiring patients to visit their primary care physician, rather than a physician visiting their home.

Today, there are many factors at play that have inspired another shift in the healthcare system. As healthcare providers transitioned from physical records to electronic records, there was a boom of electronic health records that made it easier for providers to share information. In 2020, we saw a return of at-home primary care in the form of Telehealth, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a much greater use of Telehealth to support virtual visits for patients.

The Rise of Virtual Healthcare

The global pandemic, evolving technologies, a rise in chronic conditions and many other factors have created a different set of needs for both providers and patients alike. These forces have resulted in providers looking into technology to drive the future of healthcare. With many of these technologies already in place, such as the opportunity for video conferencing and Telehealth, the global pandemic accelerated a change in healthcare that was already happening.

The Virtual Healthcare Delivery Model

While the pandemic is waning and people are returning to normal life, the shift to technology-enabled remote patient-monitoring and virtual health are here to stay. Remote patient-monitoring technologies allow providers to check-up on patients daily, while the patients are in the comfort of their homes. This is a benefit to both providers and patients alike, creating a seamless form of care that does not require an extensive use of resources.

One example of how remote patient-monitoring has proven its ability to improve on the traditional delivery model comes from the pandemic. As the pandemic created a surplus of patients with limited space, PPE and resources, it became nearly impossible for providers to treat all of their patients within their four walls. To combat this problem, many providers worked to create a different model, where they would monitor COVID-19 patients virtually rather than in person. They provided remote patient monitoring to their patients that allowed for monitoring symptoms and providing care based on their every day, overall health. The new model has opened the door to a multitude of opportunities to improve healthcare outcomes such as improved length of stay, readmission, patient outcomes and patient satisfaction. The table below shows some of the potentials of the evolving virtual healthcare delivery model:

How a Technology Partner Will Help Healthcare Providers

The process of shifting to a virtual healthcare model is different for every organization. A good technology partner will help you figure out the optimal way to integrate virtual care into your delivery of care. The end goal should be helping your organization get to the point where patients are receiving the same level of care as they would within the four-walls of a traditional care setting, but in the comfort of their own home. This is a shift that will require a deep level of understanding of integrating healthcare technology into a seamless anywhere, anytime environment.

While providers look at hundreds of different vendors to work within the Telehealth field, a good technology partner will help you sort through all of the clutter. Finding the right technology partner means that you will have someone to help you make those decisions, while also implementing, managing and maintaining the variety of different tools it takes to make Telehealth happen successfully. Your partner's goal should always be to create a unified system of technologies that communicate simultaneously.

Finding Your Focus in Virtual Healthcare

There are countless ways in which you can implement virtual healthcare for your patients, but without a specific focus, it can become a much more complex transition. The first step is asking yourself what you want to accomplish in virtual

healthcare. Are you trying to decrease readmissions? Are you trying to promote overall wellness? Are you trying to improve the patient experience? Knowing what you want your overall focus to be on will not only help your customers but also help with the transition to digital.

Virtual Care Enabling Technologies

There are a number of virtual care enabling technologies that will help providers navigate through the changing environment. Each serves a specific purpose for maximizing the efficiency, support and effectiveness of your virtual healthcare delivery model. Here are some of the virtual care technologies that will become increasingly important for organizations moving forward to support a virtual care delivery model:

Clinical & IT Service Desk:  Support for clinicians and patients, as well as patient family members and caregivers, to assist with procedural and technical questions and issues as well as provide outreach services. This service can also provide around-the-clock monitoring and alerting, as well as patient follow-up services.

Patient Engagement: Provides a conduit for the patient and provider to interact and allows the patient to actively participate in their healthcare journey. Provides the following functionality:

•          Tool to facilitate patient-provider communication and feedback

•          Condition-specific patient prompts

•          Patient motivation

•          Condition-specific educational material

•          Care coordination

•          Health coaching

•          Prevention and wellness guidance

•          Medication management

•          Scheduling

•          Monitoring and alerting

Digital Front Door: This is how patients interact with the health system or provider. It provides a patient, and the community, a means to get information as well as obtain services. It is the digital front desk for a provider's practice or health system. In order for it to be effective, this service requires a clear strategy and an integrated marketing plan.

IT Management & Cloud Enablement: The technical infrastructure required to provide remote patient monitoring, the cloud hosting of the application and the communication tools required to provide virtual health services.

Device Asset Management: This service provides the asset management functions for any device or monitor required to support the virtual health offering: deployment, configuration, security, maintenance and support.

Provider Analytics & ML: The capability to collect, aggregate and analyze data that allows for reporting and evaluating the effectiveness of the virtual health offerings.

There are a large number of virtual care enabling technologies that will play a role in a transition into a virtual healthcare delivery model. The transition is different for every organization, depending on your offerings, focus and overall goal for the patient experience. GuideIT offers all of these services and more to help providers create a seamless experience for their staff and patients. Contact us today to learn more about what it will take for your organization to transition into the world of virtual healthcare.

Photo Sourced from Getty Images: #1264364849

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