Getting healthcare is hard. From the time it takes to schedule an appointment, to the hours spent in commute and the wait-times at the clinic, the entire process can drain entire days worth of time. The average primary care visit in the US is 18 minutes and the time interacting with a healthcare professional is often even less than that. However, the average time for a medical visit including transport, administrative and completing paperwork is 2 hours and costs patients $43 in addition to the cost of the visit. This discrepancy encapsulates the issue with the American healthcare system, the time it takes to obtain healthcare engulfs the time spent actually receiving care.
It is no surprise then that most people who do not absolutely need healthcare choose to avoid it at all costs. Often, the pain of obtaining healthcare appears larger than any physiological pain that a person may be feeling at the time. People are busy, and when faced with a busy work schedule, family needs and other commitments, most people choose to forego non-essential healthcare.
But what if it was possible to skip the time and pain of obtaining health care and keep the value of seeing your healthcare provider? That is the promise that at-home care offers. By seeing a provider, through telemedicine, or through a home visit, patients can skip the commute and the long-lines and get trusted medical advice in their PJs. The shift to this form of care has slowly been coming for years but has dramatically been accelerated by COVID-19 which has forced providers and patients to experience care beyond the clinic.
The data suggests that this new form of care is here to stay. Over half of all health visits during the pandemic were through telehealth and over 46% of Americans have now had some experience with this form of care. 76% of consumers are interested in using telehealth going forward. On the provider side, 71% of healthcare professionals are using telehealth and 55% of providers currently have some remote patient monitoring capabilities.
Overall, this represents a seismic shift in the way care will be provided in the future. Companies and startups are pushing innovation to improve the virtual care experience while reducing costs and improving efficiency. McKinsey estimates that 20% of overall US healthcare expenditures, amounting to $250B, could be virtualized by 2025.
Gone are the days of skipping work or missing family dinners to go see the doctor. Americans will eventually be able to obtain any non-acute care that they need in the comfort of their homes within hours of requesting it on the internet. This will not only create a more enjoyable experience for those receiving care but will also encourage those who have previously avoided healthcare due to the pain of obtaining it to get treated when they have a concern instead of pushing it to the curb. This will eventually result in a healthier and happier America that embraces and proactively seeks healthcare instead of avoiding it at all costs.