Reimagining Virtual Care beyond COVID-19

Guest Authored by Catherine Murphy, Chief Operating Officer

Virtual care is not a temporary bridge to address the current COVID-19 crisis—it’s a powerful tool for providers to permanently extend care beyond the brick and mortar setting. It is a care tool that gives patients access to safe, effective, and efficient care and leaves in-person care for those who need it most.

At Zipnosis, the need is clear. When you compare first quarter 2019 to first quarter 2020, we saw a 600% increase in utilization on our platform. The numbers don’t lie. Consumer exposure, and demand, for virtual care is growing exponentially. Meanwhile, healthcare, which has historically been slow to change, has seen fast-paced growth and adoption of virtual care in order to meet this demand. The momentum is here and we have to keep it going

Here’s how health systems and virtual care providers can make the most of the opportunity.

Health systems: standing up a long-term solution that works for patients, and providers.

Consumers are more aware than ever of the virtual care tools available and they’re using them. In this time of increased adoption, it’s critical that health systems stand up solutions that can continue to meet consumers where they’re at, through COVID-19 and beyond. By varying modes of care, health systems can influence consumers’ adoption of virtual care and make these tools more accessible. The right modality adapts to a patient’s unique care needs, versus a single mode like video visits. Video is a great mode of care, but there are times when the asynchronous modality is better. In fact, 80 percent of the time when patients have the option of a video visit or an asynchronous visit, they opt for the asynchronous visit.

For health systems, deploying a virtual care strategy and tools isn’t simply an option—it’s a necessity. As consumers’ preference shifts towards increased accessibility to all modes of care, patients are seeking out health systems with increased choice, regardless of whether it’s within their designated health system or not. It’s time to invest in all modes of care to make virtual care a part of a long-standing success story.

Virtual care providers: visualizing the power of virtual care outside of urgent care.

Virtual care is so much more than online urgent care, it is healthcare you can access from the comfort and safety of your home. It is all four modes of care: asynchronous, chat, phone, and video visits. In light of COVID-19, virtual care has been used to triage and screen incredible patient volumes. In the past 10 weeks, health systems across the country have used virtual care as an essential tool to reach and deliver care to new and existing patients.

Now it’s time to re-imagine that same value for clinical specialties and protocols outside of urgent care. It’s time to start using virtual care for behavioral health, oncology, dermatology, and more. We believe these are clinical specialties poised to offer virtual care as part of their care options. In fact, we’re already working with our health system partner on ways to integrate virtual care into behavioral health visits and have seen incredible results. In just a month, virtual visits jumped from a handful to over 2,000—a small example of the positive change we see on the horizon.

The Crux of Healthcare

While healthcare has previously been slow to change, it’s now at the center of change. Both health systems and virtual care companies have the opportunity to build long-standing solutions that support re-engaging patients who have largely stayed away from their scheduled appointments and procedures.  Health systems have the opportunity to deploy virtual care as a permanent option for care—an option that instills confidence in the quality, accessibility, and convenience of care. It is exciting to imagine and see us moving beyond the status quo. Together, both health systems and virtual care providers have the opportunity to make valuable change beyond COVID-19.

Catherine Murphy brings over 20 years of experience in IT project management, business development, sales, and account management to her role with Zipnosis. She joined the company in 2017 as Vice President of Customer Success, and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Catherine oversees the customer success, operations, marketing, and product and engineering teams. Prior to joining Zipnosis, she spent seven years with Surescripts, beginning as an account executive and ultimately as a key player in building their long term care market.