It can take 2-3 hours for a 20-minute doctor’s visit: getting to the clinic & parking, waiting, getting home. And, it’s not just the patient, but often a family member/caregiver that also disrupts their day for a 20-minute visit.
“Windshield time” for specialists can be disruptive to them too. To improve access in a system, the specialists rotate through multiple sites of care. But, they also have the drive/parking, etc. –making them less efficient.
As we know, technology-based “market disrupters” are making virtual care a reality. And providers with risk-based payment such as Kaiser Permanente have already integrated non-face-to-face visits into their practice. And insurers are increasingly covering virtual care– with UnitedHealthcare last spring expanding virtual care to employer self-funded plans via a mobile app as just one example.
Virtual care is getting real. What does that mean for our physician alignment strategies? For our physician comp models? For our ambulatory care distribution network design? For our facility requirements? Will there be a new type of doctor: “the virtualist?”
By Wendy Weitzner | April 2016