New report from Updox highlights the shifting perceptions and uses of virtual care during COVID-19, and challenges practices are addressing in 2021

Updox, a healthcare communication platform for in-person and virtual care, released a new report, Maximizing Virtual Care in 2021: How Healthcare Providers Can Easily Innovate and Advance Their Practices in a Consumer-Driven Environment, which can be downloaded here. The report includes data from a survey of more than 1,000 healthcare providers across a variety of specialty practice areas and details how virtual care impacted providers and their respective practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, providers’ plans for developing a full virtual care strategy in 2021 and beyond, and barriers to adoption that still exist in relation to digital health technology.

Prior to COVID-19, providers were already beginning to adopt technologies that modernized communications and improved the patient experience in response to healthcare consumerism. When COVID-19 hit, however, this demand skyrocketed. In 2020, nearly half of healthcare providers implemented new digital solutions to improve patient engagement and increase workflow efficiency. Now, more than 65% of practices state that their practice has a virtual care option in place for at least one solution, and 48% have implemented one or more virtual care solutions in order to be more productive, engage with more patients and run a more profitable practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the past year,  patient and provider needs shifted substantially. Running a profitable practice is the number one priority for healthcare providers this year, and implementing a full virtual care strategy is critical to achieving these goals,” said Michael Morgan, President, Updox. “Virtual care is more than telehealth, and implementing a virtual care strategy that sets practices up for long-term success involves more than adopting individual solutions. Developing an effective virtual care strategy includes creating a forward-looking plan of where your practice is headed, and leveraging a platform that will allow you to connect all your solutions together to seamlessly care for patients both in and outside the physical walls of the business.”

Developing an efficient virtual care strategy requires a flexible approach that is tailored to the practice’s specific needs and creates the ideal experience for its patients, and that evolves as practice and patient needs change. However, many practices continue to face barriers to adoption and implementation of a full virtual care strategy. In fact, while 75% of providers said it’s important/very important to have a virtual care strategy moving forward, only 28% have actually implemented one. Further, only 14% of practices have discussed implementing a full virtual care strategy, with 57% having yet to discuss it at all.

Additional survey findings include:

  • Pre-COVID-19, practices reported their biggest challenges were patient comfort level with tech (32%), costs associated with the initial purchase/implementation (26%) and insurance reimbursement (21%)
  • Throughout COVID-19, practices reported their biggest challenges were costs associated with initial purchase/implementation (30%), strain on physicians and other staff (25%) and insurance reimbursement (20%)
  • Looking ahead, practices anticipate their biggest challenges will be costs associated with initial purchase/implementation (32%), insurance reimbursement (30%), strain on physicians and other staff (15%)

“Building a virtual care strategy is not a race but should be viewed as a roadmap, where providers identify their needs, set tangible goals for the practice and build on that strategy piece by piece,” continued Morgan. “Building a virtual care strategy can start with just one solution that works within the practice’s workflow. Then, layering other digital solutions that seamlessly work together typically results in higher patient engagement and satisfaction, better patient response rates, a reduction in appointment no-shows, and ultimately greater long-term practice success and profitability.”

For all the data, additional analysis and more information on how practices are implementing  comprehensive virtual care in 2021, download a free copy of the full Updox report at: https://info.updox.com/virtual-care-strategy-2021. For additional updates and information from the company, please visit www.updox.com or follow @updox on Twitter.

About Updox

A healthcare communication platform for in-person and virtual care, Updox offers one consolidated inbox for healthcare providers to manage the entire patient journey and office productivity. Through an all-in-one platform, Updox provides a broad set of capabilities for virtual health, patient engagement, and paperless office efficiency that work together to reduce costs and drive revenue. Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, Updox, an EverCommerce company, is integrated with more than 100 electronic health records (EHR) and pharmacy management systems and serves more than 560,000 users and 210 million patients. Updox customers also benefit from an engaged user community for benchmarking, idea exchange and networking. Learn how we simplify the business of healthcare. Visit www.updox.com or follow the company on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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