Arielle Trzcinski, Principal Analyst
In the fall of 2019, Forrester predicted 36 million virtual healthcare visits in 2020. Fast-forward one year, and that estimate rocketed to 480 million. What lessons have been learned, and what’s next for virtual care? Principal Analyst Arielle Trzcinski explains on this week’s episode.
Though driven by necessity over the past year, demand for virtual care will continue to be high post-pandemic due to its convenience, cost-reduction potential, and other benefits. One area in which virtual care has had a particularly significant impact is the management of chronic conditions, for which more frequent monitoring and interaction can prevent health problems from escalating. Mental health treatment has been another area of increased adoption: In 2021, one-third of virtual care visits will be mental health-related, Trzcinski notes.
Along with easier access and potentially better outcomes for patients, virtual care delivery is providing new revenue opportunities for healthcare providers. As health insurers have increased reimbursement for remote patient monitoring, for instance, clinicians have access to a recurring revenue stream that previously did not exist.
Yet for all of virtual care’s promise, 2020 underscored areas for improvement. One, Trzcinski says, is the issue of equity — one-quarter of Medicare patients lack access to high-speed internet, for example. Healthcare providers, insurers, and technology vendors need to commit to improving experiences for patients across age groups, race, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Listen to the full episode to learn more about the opportunities and challenges that the future of healthcare holds.