The rise of disruptive digital technologies has changed countless aspects of our lives. Whether we are getting a ride to the airport through a ride-sharing app or are sending Bitcoin to a family member overseas, these technologies have made our lives easier, better, and more efficient.
The same can be true in the healthcare industry. There are countless numbers of technologies that are changing the way that medicine is delivered. One of the most disruptive, however, is virtual medicine. In our app-first world, virtual medicine has become a great way for patients to get quality care from the comfort of their own homes. For healthcare providers, it has become easier to check-in with patients and diagnose patient conditions. And for society as a whole, virtual medicine can play a role in reducing total healthcare costs.
We are still in the early days of virtual medicine. Because of this, it is worth taking the time to analyze where virtual medicine is headed. By doing so, we can better anticipate the future and put in the hard work now to capitalize on that future.
Where We Are
Before talking about the future, however, it is necessary to understand where we are now. According to a First Stop Health survey of midsize to large employers, about 91 percent of those employers expect to offer virtual medicine by the end of this year. But having said this, a Willis Towers Watson survey from 2018 states that less than two percent of employers have actually used the service.
While the precise reason for this gap is up for debate, we can look at some more data. According to recent data from JD Power, a whopping 75 percent of Americans weren’t even aware that virtual medicine was an option. Moreover, knowledge about virtual medicine is lowest in rural areas. But even beyond the lack of knowledge about virtual medicine, other respondents also expressed concern about the quality of care that they would receive through virtual medicine. The thinking was that they would receive better overall care if they visited a physician or nurse in a physical doctor’s office.