HIMSS18: 5 best practices of virtual care

In a March 6 presentation at HIMSS18 in Las Vegas, Blake McKinney, CMO and co-founder of the virtual health platform CirrusMD, presented key learnings from how health systems and payers are meeting the needs of consumers though virtual care. 

The current healthcare climate is dominated by consumers demanding care more quickly with ongoing access, more ongoing communications, cost savings and privacy. The session addressed the current demands by listing five tips to optimizing virtual care. Additionally, McKinney outlines what’s missing in the current marketplace, improving patient engagement and what population health manager can do to drive engagement in these tips. 

  1. Create barrier free access: A chat-based strategy is important to engagement because patients share more information when they feel more connected to physicians. Health systems should utilize their virtual care solutions to assist patients in navigating from scheduling to instant care, a process that should only take 90 seconds. Additionally, virtual care solutions need to be staffed by a provider capable of resolving health issues to reduce wait times.
  2. Use familiar technology: Using a familiar device increases the chances that patients will remain engaged becuase they will be using these devices daily for other activities. Utilizing HIPAA-compliant apps for chat and adding to web properties will keep patient information secure while also building trust in providers.
  3. Create instant virtual care: A true virtual care platform is not solely about the tech. It is also a business arrangement. Health systems should focus on maintaining relationships with patients, instead of one-off visits, by providing a way to chat with physicians in under a minute. The continuity of care creates trust and offers patients a surprisingly satisfying relationship with their physician through direct access.
  4. Develop lasting relationships: Providers' ability to deliver care over time and handle complex problems engages users. The two-way communication between patient and physician reduces fear, uncertainty and doubt.
  5. Explore targeted communication : If patients don’t know about a service, they won’t use it. Patient engagement is essential to the success of any virtual care program. Ongoing communication about virtual care raises awareness about its benefits and potential.

According to McKinney, these practices lead to a 92 percent patient satisfaction rate with CirrusMD. Additional findings included a 72 percent encounter resolution rate and 27 percent utilization with larger payers while costing 48 percent less than a nurse call.