COVID-19 has caused one hell of a disruption in our society, but none more so than in the healthcare sector. Many hospitals and care providers have had to make difficult staffing and resource allocation decisions to combat the overwhelming number of COVID patients. At the same time, doctors and patients alike have embraced tech-based solutions to healthcare for virus or non-virus related issues.
“We are basically witnessing ten years of change in one,” said Jana Abelovska, a Click Pharmacy healthcare expert in London.
According to research, the UK Virtual Healthcare Market in 2018 was worth approximately $481 Million. This market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.04%. It is estimated that the Virtual Healthcare Market will grow to roughly $1.24 Billion by 2027. The UK healthcare market has exploded with interesting new initiatives and start-ups.
How Virtual Healthcare Helps?
Virtual healthcare is a new practice of providing patient care from a remote location. This form of care is invaluable when face-to-face interactions between the patient and the doctor are not possible. Telemedicine allows care providers to offer health assessment and medical counsel via telecommunication infrastructure.
Distribution of effective COVID-19 vaccines is underway. We can hope that majority of the things will return to the way they were before this pandemic. However, any hope for a return to normality in healthcare is a useless sentiment. Virtual healthcare has shown itself as integral to increasing the efficiency of the whole system. Its patient-centred approach is also too enticing for people to let go.
People have shown their satisfaction with the virtual healthcare approach. It allows them to engage with a specialist directly and receive counsel. It also allows them to become better informed of their condition and treatment options across all stages of care.
Here’s how the virtual healthcare industry will continue to evolve in 2021:
1. There’s No Stopping It
Initially, the reliance on virtual care will slightly drop when the lockdown restrictions ease up. People will eventually gain the confidence of visiting their doctor’s office for minor medical issues. However, the industry share of virtual healthcare is not going to drop below pre-2020 levels.
The majority of consumers have had a taste of the many benefits and convenience provided by virtual care. They understand that accessing virtual care does not mean it will compromise the quality of care. One of the most significant advantages of virtual health is that patients can easily access specialists outside their geographical reach.
Many physicians have also seen the improved results of healthcare first-hand. While many may be hoping for things to return to normal, many more will embrace the new paradigm shift. Virtual care allows them to see many more patients than they normally could. People with worldly or philanthropic inclinations, both will be happy with the way things are going.
2. Increased Employer Focus on Virtual Healthcare Quality
As stated earlier, virtual healthcare is a patient-centred approach. From now on, it won’t be good enough for corporate owners to choose the least expensive insurance option and be content with having ticked off the telehealth box. HR professionals will have to be discriminating buyers because of an increased demand from their employees for better virtual care solutions.
Many investments poured into the virtual healthcare sector in 2020. Solutions with higher quality medical solutions and personalised user experience will create a difference among the companies seeking virtual care. High-quality care providers will also be selective about their prospective partners.
3. Increase in Demand for Specialty Care
COVID-19 pandemic had some tragic consequences for some mainstream healthcare services in 2020, like preventive visits, cancer screenings and elective surgeries. This will create a wave of new patients in 2021, including those showing signs of illness but who haven’t had the opportunity for a diagnosis. Treatments for substance abuse and mental illnesses were also disrupted.
When COVID-19 finally comes under control, we may see a new health crisis for patients needing speciality care. Employers may also need to meet higher costs that an influx of demand will create.
Many of such matters will be resolved once the sudden rise in demands stabilises. Virtual healthcare will evolve to accommodate speciality care like predicted.
4. The Rise in Virtual Care Investments
As stated above, there will be a sharp rise in consumer acceptance and demand for virtual healthcare in 2021. It is more cost-effective to deliver and eliminates many middle parties. It connects the patient directly with the caregiver and focuses on a patient-centred approach. This shift will see many health systems moving away from the old brick-and-mortar presence. Instead, they will focus on making sizeable investments in virtual care.
Virtual healthcare is the future. A majority of healthcare consumers are now interested in using telehealth services. The hesitation of accepting such services before 2020 is all but gone in 2021. This mode of business will allow even the remotest dwellers to access the best virtual care. The momentum is unstoppable.
Coronavirus pandemic has permanently altered the healthcare system. Some view the new outlook with wariness, but many more see it as providence. Virtual healthcare has mostly received positive responses from care providers and patients. Virtual care is the next step in medicine. Its solutions can help deliver higher quality and patient-centric care.