Consumers’ virtual care adoption increased more than 400 percent over 2019, according to an April survey conducted by McKinsey, with 74 percent of users reporting a positive experience. Among providers, more than half view telehealth more favorably than before COVID-19; two-thirds are more comfortable using it.
“We’re seeing data that shows unbelievable surges in adoption and use,” Johnson says. “You see the myths associated with telehealth getting blown up left and right.”
She spoke more about the upcoming conference and the future of virtual care:
HEALTHTECH: What will the conference look like without a physical space?
JOHNSON: One thing that was very important to us when we made a decision to pivot to virtual was to work with our key members, sponsors and exhibitors. We wanted to really make this a collaborative effort, so we got a lot of input from the exhibitors in terms of what was going to be meaningful and useful for them.
People will be able to sign up to interact with exhibitors to learn more about what they're doing. It’s intended to be very personalized, but also to really leverage the technology. Obviously, we’re not going to do it from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day; there’s a live element and recorded elements — high production value and high content value.
HEALTHTECH: How much did your presenters have to shift course?
JOHNSON: What we found was that a lot of the sessions are naturally taking a COVID or pandemic approach. I think what we will see nationally is an examination of what worked and what didn’t work with this public health emergency, and how we can adapt differently going forward. Because there will be another one; we know that, right?
We have some others that, quite frankly, are timely because of the topics they tackle. We have a panel on the user experience and the fact that often we haven’t delivered very well as an industry for special needs populations, and we have to up our game there. That’s going to be a very powerful session.
HEALTHTECH: Can you reflect on the significance of this moment for telehealth?
JOHNSON: The surge that has occurred is unbelievable, and it put enormous pressure on traditional providers and delivery systems to respond. You have organizations like Providence St. Joseph Health that brought on literally thousands of physicians overnight, and then you have independently run physician practices that were able to convert over a weekend.
We think of telehealth as a pretty broad matrix of activities. One thing I always point out — something not as widely acknowledged previously — is the role of asynchronous services that allowed patients to go online and determine whether the symptoms they thought they had were indicative of having the coronavirus.