Despite being introduced in 1950 and undergoing around 70 years of development, Virtual Healthcare has only recently gained momentum after the pandemic. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, a significant increase in demand for virtual health services has been recorded, as in-person hospital visits globally dropped 50 percent during 2019-2020 . While patients’ skepticism and communication malfunction are the main challenges in virtual healthcare, this technology trend still thrives for its significant benefits to the care providers, prompting a remarkable 94% in customer return rate .
At the heart of virtual healthcare lies a fundamental objective: to enhance communication between healthcare providers and patients. By leveraging technology, virtual healthcare enables seamless, simultaneous, and consistent interactions, empowering individuals to access quality care from anywhere at any time. Moreover, Virtual Healthcare caters to diverse user groups, addressing specific needs and ensuring equitable access to healthcare services. Key user groups that benefit from virtual healthcare include rural and minority communities, the aging population, and closeted LGBTQ+ individuals,…
According to Deloitte, embracing virtual healthcare opens new avenues for business growth by 25% each year, and its global market share is expected to reach a booming US$100 billion by 2025 . This expectation is based on the majority of industry-wide benefits available for patients, caretakers, and businesses. Virtual healthcare also plays a critical role in emergencies and disease outbreaks by enabling healthcare services to be provided remotely. This technology application minimizes the risk of spreading contagious diseases and avoids unexpected contamination control expenses.
For patients, healthcare businesses can reach a wider audience by providing services beyond physical boundaries. As mentioned, patients with geographic distance or privacy concerns may perceive virtual healthcare as more confidentially optimized and easily accessible. Such easier access to virtual healthcare can abridge the physical distance, global economic, and resources gap, inducing health equity.
To businesses worldwide, the prominent advantage of virtual healthcare is scalability, flexibility, enhanced cost, and time management: virtual care eliminates the need for inpatient housing expenses, reducing the time and costs associated with routine check-ups. Moreover, healthcare providers extend their services beyond geographical limitations. Care services can aptly reach patients in remote or underserved areas, providing access to healthcare services that may otherwise be unavailable. This opens up new market opportunities and expands the provider’s reach. Additionally, virtual care offers flexibility for doctors and employees, allowing them to achieve a better work-life balance. They can schedule consultations and appointments according to availability, reducing stress and improving job satisfaction.
The rapid advancement of virtual healthcare has transformed how healthcare services are delivered worldwide. While it presents numerous benefits, there are several challenges that business owners in the virtual healthcare space must address. According to the Cyber Peace Institute, 400 cyberattacks were recorded in over 40 countries worldwide within the last two years (2021-2023). These attacks can disrupt healthcare operations and steal over 10 million records, raising ransomware concerns about virtual healthcare .
Bridging geographical gaps in virtual healthcare is an essential and trendy topic that has gained significant attention, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges can be categorized into physical distance and cultural distance. Regarding physical distance, virtual healthcare aims to provide healthcare services to individuals in different locations. However, this poses challenges related to infrastructure, connectivity, and access to technology. In some remote areas, less internet connectivity or inadequate technology infrastructure may hinder the effective delivery of virtual healthcare services. In addition, psychological, cultural, and language barriers can significantly impact the understanding between healthcare providers and patients. These barriers can hinder effective information exchange, impede accurate diagnosis and treatment, and potentially result in suboptimal healthcare outcomes.
As virtual health services face the hurdle of payer-provider distance and regulations, implementing a super app is crucial in tackling these challenges. Amwell, Teladoc Health, or Babylon Health are prominent virtual healthcare super apps remotely offering all patient-centric services in one digital platform. They go beyond the scope of traditional telemedicine by providing a more extensive range of features and benefits, encompassing primary care, specialty care, and wellness programs.
Virtual healthcare has emerged as a transformative approach. However, virtual care must go beyond basic telemedicine practices and embrace the integration of high-technology medical instruments and applications to engage patients empathetically. By harnessing the power of cutting-edge technologies, virtual care has the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery, ensuring accessibility, convenience, and personalized experiences for patients worldwide. The full potential of virtual care can be realized through this combination of human touch and technological innovation, transforming the future of healthcare.