Virtual Care Services Becomes More Mainstream

October 11, 2019

Consumers are becoming more open to the easy, accessible services of virtual care after dealing with perceived hardships of primary care visits.

Virtual care services are becoming a more favorable option to consumers while there are few affordable and convenient options for healthcare.

Based on a study from virtual care provider, Doctor on Demand (DoD), primary care is changing and patients are becoming more interested in the benefits virtual care has to offer.

The study was conducted to help consumers better understand the state of primary care in American today, their perceptions and behaviors around it, and the role that virtual care plays.

These findings, in which over 1,000 consumers across the country were surveyed, showed nearly three-quarters of consumers understand what their primary care physician can treat, but more than a quarter of them do not see their primary care physicians for ongoing preventive care.

DoD says it has been reported that many consumers don’t see their primary care physicians until needed and nearly half of millennials don’t have a primary care physician at all.

Some of these deciding factors can be the cause of time, cost or is not worth the visit.

Although, through virtual care-a video chat between physicians and patients-more than half of consumers see it as a quick solution for one-off instances, while less than a quarter believe you can establish a relationship with a primary care physician virtually.

Related: Rite Aid Expands Reach with Telehealth Services

According to DoD, virtual care can fill many gaps in healthcare.

For example, the average wait time in America to get an appointment with a physician is up to 24 days, while virtual visits can have a patient see a doctor in less than five minutes.

Patients can be seen virtually to treat needs of urgent care, behavioral and preventive health and chronic care.

Virtual care can also treat 90% of conditions seen in urgent care facilities and the ER, as well as provide chronic care management, behavioral health services, prescriptions and labs, the survey says.

For the first time, virtual care can provide continuity of care and the ability to see the same physician on an ongoing basis through virtual primary care.

This study shows 60% of individuals, today, are more comfortable with video and believe if virtual care is delivered through video, then it is possible to rebuild a relationship with a primary care physician.

The study also shows more than 70% of those surveyed do not believe you can build a relationship with your doctor by phone or text only, without any video interaction.

Insurance plays a factor

Sixty percent of those in favor of virtual care said in the survey they would use virtual care if their insurance offered. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they are unaware if their health plan covers virtual care.

However, when respondents were asked if they would switch to virtual care if it was an option covered by their insurance, responses were 50/50, the study said.

DoD claims their virtual care services can assist patients no matter the location and with or without insurance.

Briana Contreras is associate editor for Managed Healthcare Executive.