With long wait times, inconvenient appointments and a shortage of available health care providers, many patients are seeking alternative ways to access their health care needs. Not only are these patients interested in gaining better access to their primary care needs, but they’re also seeking a greater array of providers, including dieticians, mental health care providers and specialists. Millions of patients are abandoning the traditional institution-centred model and interested in adopting telemedicine and virtual appointments to help manage their health holistically.
Virtual consultations with health care providers are set to become the norm within a decade and predicted to outnumber face-to-face consultations, according to Geneticist Dr. Eric Topol, who was commissioned by the Health Secretary to examine the effects of technology on the health care system. More patients are using platforms like Skype or Facetime to contact their health care providers, however, these platforms were not conceived with their users’ health care needs in mind, nor compliant with basic healthcare regulations like PIPEDA and PHIPA in Canada and HIPAA in the United States.
Innovative platforms like OnCall Health merge technology with health care by providing patients with simple, secure virtual care that is PIPEDA, PHIPA, and HIPAA compliant. But the question remains, are patients ready to make the move from person-to-person appointments to their screens? Yes. More patients are not just accepting, but demanding virtual care for a variety of reasons.
Patients Need Accessible and Convenient Appointments
Virtual care platforms like OnCall Health remove barriers and improve accessibility for patients. There are a number of barriers that inhibit in-person appointments such as distance, poor weather, excessive time commitments, or the discomfort of travelling in public to facilities for stigmatized health care appointments. Telemedicine platforms like OnCall Health offer online booking, one-on-one and group video calls, and instant messaging that make appointments convenient for patients.
Rather than miss a workday to sit in a waiting room, patients can book appointments on the fly and have virtual video calls on their lunch break. Virtual care also ends the painful phone tag that patients are often faced with. Technology allows these same patients to receive instant updates and even access prescriptions directly on their device.
Patients Want to Skip Excessive Wait Times
Patients are tired of waiting for their appointments. A study conducted in Canada found that the average wait time for a physician in 2018 was 113 per cent longer than in 1993. Virtual health care allows for quicker and more convenient access to health care providers.
Another study, conducted at Harvard Medical School, found that the average visit to a health care provider took 121 minutes; 37 minutes of travel time, 64 minutes of waiting time, and just 20 minutes of face-to-face time with physicians. Virtual care allows patients to access initial consultations, counselling sessions, check-in’s, and even files their provider needs to share with them like test results, progress tracking, and self-help resources.
Patients Want to Avoid Overcrowded Waiting Rooms
Virtual appointments allow patients to avoid increasingly overcrowded waiting rooms. Patients are eager to forego crowded institutions, especially patients with conditions that limit their mobility or safety in busy environments. Virtual platforms deliver patients with high-quality care from the comfort and privacy of their homes.
Millennial Patients are Demanding Virtual Care
Millennials expect virtual health care. With smartphones and screens readily available, millennials want to manage their health as seamlessly as they manage their investments, social profiles and shopping. A 2015 survey, found that just 43% of millennials were likely to visit a Primary Care Physician for non-emergency treatment, as opposed to seeking a more convenient option. Virtual health care delivers the convenience that millennials have grown accustomed to and expect from their service providers.
Patients Want to Address their Holistic Health Needs
Health care is no longer a “one size fits all” industry. Patients are seeking out personalized care that is both proactive and multifaceted. The average person in North America now wants access to dieticians, mental health care providers, pharmacists, primary care doctors and specialists. Virtual care platforms like OnCall Health match this new model by abandoning the institution-centred organization for a decentralized, technology-based approach. Virtual care empowers patients by allowing them to address their primary care needs as well as their diet, mental health and overall lifestyle so they manage their health instead of reacting to sickness.
Patients Know their Data is Secure and Confidential
OnCall Health and virtual care platforms guarantee patient information is secure online. Most people now manage their finances and sensitive documents online. Privacy, confidentiality and security concerns have been addressed in a number of ways. On our platform, all patient information is encrypted and inaccessible by OnCall Health; the data is only accessible to the patient and the patient’s health care provider. Unlike Skype or Facetime, OnCall Health is compliant with basic healthcare regulations like PIPEDA and PHIPA in Canada, as well as HIPAA in the US. Patients feel more comfortable than ever with the knowledge that their health care information is protected online.
Patients are Reporting Higher Satisfaction with Virtual CareVirtual health care isn’t just convenient, it has shown higher patient satisfaction. A 2016 survey which analyzed responses from 3,000 patients treated with telemedicine applications, concluded that between 94 per cent and 99 per cent were “very satisfied” with telemedicine. Patients are happy with telemedicine and unafraid to transition from traditional in-person appointments to their devices.
At OnCall Health, we do things differently; we believe that virtual care is best used within an existing patient-provider relationship where the health care provider understands the patient's medical history and can leverage this understanding to identify when virtual care can be used. We allow patients access to their trusted health care provider to increase their overall satisfaction.
Learn More About Virtual Health care and OnCall Health
OnCall Health is a virtual health care platform that connects patients to doctors and specialists. We help increase the accessibility of health services for patients. We remove barriers for patients and help health care providers seamlessly integrate virtual health care into their practice. At OnCall Health, we believe virtual health care will work in partnership with traditional in-person care to deliver patients better health care.
Are you curious about OnCall Health? Learn more here.