Virtual Care 2.0 will be attractive to employers who are increasingly looking beyond traditional benefit offerings for new ways to support and engage their employees.

The health care system does not make it easy to get answers. It is often difficult for employees and employers to navigate the process and gain access to good and timely care. Paperwork, forms, waiting to see doctors, costs, communication issues, poor referrals, and conflicting information online all hinder access to timely and quality care.

An evolving response to this frustration is virtual care with extensive on-demand services that open new opportunities for benefit brokers and consultants to provide their clients with innovative solutions to improve healthcare. Thanks in part to the exponential adoption during COVID, virtual care is here to stay, but it’s also evolving rapidly. The traditional telemedicine platform has become a commodity, everyone from health systems and third party platforms to health plans offering telemedicine. Indeed, it has become a tool for accessing care through the same health care system. The good news is that “virtual care 2.0” brings to market new models of personalized virtual care that offer broad, high-quality solutions beyond primary and urgent care telemedicine.

Julien flannery is founder and CEO of World High.

Virtual Care 2.0 will be attractive to employers who are increasingly looking beyond traditional benefit offerings for new ways to support and engage their employees. Benefits professionals can play an important role in ensuring their clients are aware of the changing landscape and innovative virtual care solutions that are personalized, timely, and can deploy organized networks to support specific journeys. at one condition.

The most significant opportunity for virtual care 2.0 lies in the emerging field of “virtual specialty care”, which targets the broad spectrum of healthcare where all the costs and complexity lie. Virtual specialist care platforms solve the problem of speed and access to high-quality specialists, ideally in a highly personalized way. In the medical field, specialists focus on a specific area of ​​medicine, such as cardiology, urology, neurology, oncology, rheumatology, immunology, orthopedics or mental health. A specialized care-focused virtual care platform can deploy sophisticated technology to personalize and personalize virtual patient interactions that are specific to a condition and patient journey, leading to better, more cost-effective decisions and outcomes .

Historically, virtual care models have focused on primary care or specific conditions, such as diabetes. As employers grapple with overwhelming “solution fatigue”, there is a need for a new model that is broader and can have a highly personalized impact across the spectrum of conditions – from allergies to cancer. High-quality virtual specialist care models can hold the promise of reducing solution fatigue, improving decision making, and delivering a highly personalized experience that solves the complexity and cost of specialist care.

More savings and quality of care

By offering virtual specialty care as a benefit, benefits professionals can achieve significant savings for their employer clients. While most models of virtual care today focus on primary or urgent care, the majority of health care costs are concentrated in specialized care. This is an untenable situation where typically 5% of employees generate 50% or more of claims costs.

Virtual specialty care, done right, can optimize health outcomes while reducing costs by connecting employees with high-quality specialists who support better treatment paths, option training and eliminating appointments. yourself and unnecessary testing. Some specialty care platforms have seen average savings of up to $ 7,150 per member engagement, translating to a 3: 1 ROI. Interactions with specialists on these platforms also had profound positive impacts on the care received by members, with 33% of them avoiding unnecessary surgeries and treatments, 55% modifying or refining a diagnosis and 52% modifying their approach to treatment.

Beyond savings, benefit professionals can also provide their clients’ employees with access to higher quality care and a better patient experience. While there has been a dramatic increase in adoption rates among employers offering virtual care programs, this increase has not necessarily translated into increased employee satisfaction. A survey by Summus Global found that 53% of U.S. HR professionals said their company employees now have access to virtual care, but only 63% of that group said their employees are currently happy with the offer.

The increased employee demand for impactful solutions will make employers more demanding when it comes to virtual care solutions, with quality being their primary concern. Instead of treating virtual care as a novelty and adding it to benefit portfolios as a checkbox, employers will increasingly examine their virtual care solutions to ensure that the solution meets quality criteria and can solve the problem of fatigue solutions.

While virtual care 2.0 is an exciting evolution in healthcare and benefits, professionals have the opportunity to redefine the way their clients think about models of care, support better medical decision-making and better healthcare. health outcomes. While the challenges of today’s healthcare system and experience can often exhaust even the most resilient, frustration need not be the norm in healthcare. There are real answers in virtual care.