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7 Steps to Open the Healthcare Digital Front Door, Care Access

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COVID-19 accelerated adoption of a digital front door, introducing virtual care access at scale. How can organizations utilize that door after the pandemic wanes?

Healthcare organizations looking to unlock the digital front door in healthcare should build up their health IT infrastructure, consider a patient-centered approach, and factor in the impact virtual care will have on clinical workflows, according to a new report from Wolters Kluwer.

The first in a five-part series outlining the post COVID-19 future of healthcare, the report looked at the impact virtual care access and telehealth has had during the pandemic and where it will move in the future.

Like other industry experts, the report authors gave a nod to virtual health technologies and remote patient access, saying these tools were instrumental in stemming the spread of the virus.

“The most vulnerable among us were its prime targets, which crystallized just how insufficient the brick-and-mortar care model is in providing people with broad access to care and how incredibly difficult population health management is to achieve,” Wolters Kluwer researchers wrote in the report. “If organizations were considering implementing virtual care strategies before the pandemic, they were now actually forced to accelerate those efforts.”

And from there, digital technology use became widespread, something most patients and providers alike are largely saying is a good thing. Fifty-seven percent of clinicians view telehealth more favorably than they did in 2019, and 64 percent said they are more confident using the technology than before.

Patients are also getting on board. In 2019, 11 percent of patients were accessing healthcare virtually and through telehealth. Now, three-quarters of patients are using technology for care access.

The healthcare industry is in near consensus that these gains in virtual care access are likely here to say, so long as medicine continues to make it easy for the patient to use technology.

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