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Telehealth is out, virtual first care is in

Updated: Feb 9

As shoppers have embraced online purchasing more than ever and employees feel more empowered working from their homes, is how we view healthcare usage the next domino in our rush toward a tech-driven life?

In 2024, it could be, as virtual first care is becoming more and more of an option for consumers and business owners. What do I mean by virtual first care? This is the next logical evolution from what we as Americans have called telehealth. While telehealth served the amazing purpose of normalizing people consulting with a medical profession online, virtual first care aims to make online medicine the first choice.

A story from Medical Economics cited a Cleveland Clinic study last year stated that virtual care visits can be just as effective as meeting face-to-face with a medical professional. According to the National Institutes of Health: Nearly 98% of respondents reported being satisfied with their telehealth experiences. Up to 91% were satisfied with video consultations.

Trust in doctors correlated with higher patient satisfaction with remote visits. About 88% agreed that virtual consultations were more convenient than in-person visits. More than 85% believe telemedicine has the same reliability as in-person visits. Finally, a 2021 American Medical Association survey showed that 62% of respondents felt their patients had higher satisfaction levels since they began offering virtual visits.

What does this all mean? Seeing your doctor in office or going to the hospital in an emergency is not going away, but virtual care will continue to grow and access will be a key. Consumers want virtual care, but it needs to be fast, efficient and user friendly. That means many virtual care companies will be adding more and more options for people to use. That

includes veterinary services, pediatrics, counseling, lab testing and chronic care. Another frontier will be virtual care that helps patients find in-network providers, get second opinions, and access transparency tools for treatment costs and quality ratings.

Chris Cole is the co-founder of Greenville-based MD Care Group, LLC, is a pioneer in personalized virtual care. MD Care Group features a national network of dedicated health care providers paired with the advanced technology required to deliver reliable, accurate medical care centered on you and your needs.

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