Evolution of Virtual Healthcare in the U.S.

Going to the doctor is an age-old practice that has been rooted in the understanding that a medical practitioner needs to directly examine a patient to provide a proper diagnosis and prescribe the right treatment.  However, due to rising health care costs, a shortage of physicians and an aging population, there are big challenges that are currently being faced by the healthcare industry.  

Did you know that the United States could see a shortage of up to 120,000 physicians by 2030, impacting patient care across the nation? –-Association of American Medical Colleges (April, 2018)

A solution to all these challenges may be achieved through the utilization of virtual health care.  Virtual health uses technology to streamline processes through tools such as video streaming, mobile applications, text messaging, sensors and social platforms to deliver health services in a way that is independent of time or location. Virtual healthcare can improve the capacities of existing doctors without adding or training more professionals.

Patients who utilize virtual technology for primary healthcare can consult any physician available on demand from one of the virtual healthcare providers, which means they may see a new physician every time. The physician may lack the full scope of the patient’s health history; therefore the patient must rely upon their medical records for in-depth details. The advantage of this technology is that there will help alleviate the demand of skilled doctors and makes distance no longer a problem that can be a hindering factor to someone receiving medical aid.

How does it work?

There are three major models in place for virtual health care:

•    Synchronous:  This uses technology such as a phone or video chat to connect patients and healthcare organizations in real-time for a wide-range of medical reasons. Patients can simply dial a number or visit a unique patient portal to chat on video with the doctor assigned to them. However, this model may have its drawbacks as the doctor will have to rely on a patient’s word or limited medical history available to them to provide a diagnosis or prescribe medication. The credibility of the doctor's patient history knowledge as well as the doctor’s ability to provide quality services may lack that personal touch.  

•    Asynchronous:  Asynchronous virtual care system uses medical record information gathered from patient portals, patient's description of their symptoms and complex evidenced-based algorithms that can suggest best treatment options to doctors. The Asynchronous virtual health care system will then give doctors a series of easy-to-select choices, based on an up-to-date evidence-based treatment procedure.

•    Patient Portals:  These are platforms that provide a continuous and secure connection between the patient and healthcare organizations. A patient portal enables patients to have access administrative, clinical, and financial functionalities, as well as tools for maintaining personal health, storing health records, and educational information. Patient portals are provided by hospitals, physicians, or any healthcare organization.

By adopting the use of virtual health, it is able to extend the reach of physicians and other healthcare providers to patients far and wide. It can also help improve medication adherence, health outcomes tracking, and patient accountability. SGS Technologie can develop user-friendly and effective virtual health care systems for your medical organization. Here is how we can provide software solutions for healthcare firms..