The Benefit of Hybrid Healthcare Models When You Can’t Do Telehealth
COVID did more than drive our workforce into remote work arrangements. The latest trends show that the pandemic also shifted our patients into a hybrid virtual and in-person model of care. The growth of telehealth models of care continues to expand, and as our patients grow more accustomed to seeing their doctors on a screen, it is likely to continue. But are there other types of virtual care models beyond telehealth? There is a difference between telehealth and virtual care.
This article goes beyond telehealth to look at how clinicians can interact with patients virtually in addition to in-person care.
What’s the Difference Between Telehealth and Virtual Care?
When you talk about hybrid care, a combination of in-person and virtual treatments, telehealth most often comes to mind. Telehealth is an entire category of virtual services. One of those services is telemedicine, which refers to the treatment of patients virtually via a video conferencing call.
Virtual care is also a category of remote services not limited to telemedicine appointments. Virtual care refers to several types of digital healthcare services. Virtual patient care can occur on video and audio, audio only, or even instant messaging to qualify under telehealth. This could include Internet of Things (IoT) remote monitoring tools to remotely track patient vital signs when they are at home. Wearable devices such as the Apple Watch are increasingly sophisticated as a healthcare monitoring system.
Personalized patient portals allow your customers to access test results early or set appointments. Today there are even kiosks for check-ins in doctor practices, which is the perfect example of our new hybrid care delivery models. How have these tools changed the patient journey? Will patients and doctors continue to move forward in this new hybrid landscape?
The New Patient Hybrid Encounter
Today your patients have the option of a truly hybrid model for care. The old care delivery mechanism was simple: The patient called your office, made an appointment, and came in.
Today’s patient journey is fully hybrid, incorporating in-person and digital experiences. Here is a typical patient experience:
- Patient sees the Provider (Physician, PA, NP or other,) via a telemedicine app.
- Patient goes online to schedule a follow-up office visit for testing.
- Patient has a follow-up visit in the office.
- Patient receives a text to check their patient portal for test results.
- Patient goes online to view test results.
- Patient is called by a scheduling coordinator who books an outpatient surgery.
- Patient travels to the surgical hospital for the procedure.
- Patient is released with a wearable device that monitors vital signs remotely from home. The readings are viewed daily by a nurse.
- Patient undergoes virtual physical therapy, completing exercises under the instruction of a remote clinical team.
- Patient returns on-site to the practice for a surgical recheck and release.
Interested In Learning More About Hybrid Healthcare?
Digitization today has broadened our horizons, allowing for the hybrid care delivery model we described. MedSource Consultants works closely with healthcare providers within these new care paradigms to find clinical and administration staff. If your organization is seeking healthcare talent throughout the United States, including Queens, NY; Boston, NY; and beyond, contact us today. We can help.