Patients Report Mixed Views on the Value of Virtual Care
Beyond simply making digital tools and services available, however, providers also need to build trust with patients that virtual care provides the same value as in-person care. The study suggests that this aspect of virtual care is still a substantial hurdle.
Deloitte’s research, for example, indicated that more than half (56 percent) of respondents don’t believe they get the same quality of care or value from a virtual visit as from an in-person visit.
“We believe healthcare organizations need to continue to evolve their capabilities for leveraging human-centered design tools to really better understand the needs of their patients and how they want to use technology to engage,” Betts says.
Too often, he says, design decisions are made and tools developed that solve the problems for the system, but do not address the challenges that consumers are wrestling with.
“Going forward, better addressing the latent unmet needs of individuals relative to their care experience is going to be more important than addressing the stated needs alone,” Betts notes. “There are still lessons to be learned for the healthcare sector from how consumer-obsessed organizations understand their customers.”
Seamless Tools and Staff Training Can Improve Virtual Visits
Deloitte Research Manager Leslie Korenda notes that although most clinical leaders say they are tracking patient experience and utilization metrics related to virtual health, measurements related to quality of care and team experience are lagging.
“Our research has shown that training clinicians and support staff to ensure patients get the same quality care experience as patients who have face-to-face visits is going to be vital,” she says.
Korenda points to a 2020 Deloitte survey of U.S. physicians, in which 85 percent of surveyed physicians said training to improve virtual visit skills is essential, but absent.
Having the right tools in place to stitch together an experience across the care continuum — one that makes sense from a consumer’s perspective — also will be critical, Betts says.
That will require seamless integration of applications and at-home self-diagnostic tests, both areas where consumer uptake is on the rise, according to Deloitte’s research.
“Ultimately, it’s about creating a user-friendly experience,” says Korenda. “Our internal research shows consumers are frustrated that their digital experience in heathcare isn’t even close to those in other industries.”