A few months ago, my beloved car, Brynhyld (Bryn for short; I name all my cars), started to show signs of needing more significant repairs: New clutch, new tires, new brakes – about 50% of the value of the car. But I LOVED Bryn. She had been with me through some amazing times in my life. It’s not all the time I’m grateful for my dad’s brainwashing me into liking cars, but this was one. I had already test-driven a dozen cars—just for fun. As a car nerd, I knew exactly what it would take to replace Bryn – pricing, options, and financing terms. So, on a snowy December night, I said goodbye to my beloved Bryn and brought a new car, Petra, into my life.
Most people don’t spend an hour each day reading car blogs, so buying a car can be a stressful experience. The same is true in telemedicine. It nearly impossible to understand what “models” exist, what the right prices are, which vendors are reliable, what ROI to expect, whether patients will use it, etc. So, we do a lot of test-drives with telemedicine.
Telemedicine is Testing
Testing features; testing care delivery models; testing value propositions, patient preference, regulations, and reimbursement. The industry has been using telemedicine to test-drive the next generation of digital care delivery tools for 70 years. This testing has been vital. In healthcare, it takes those 70 years to get to a point where we are ready for a more mature, durable set of tools – ready for substantive change. But now, we’re ready.
Virtual Care is Viable
The most important thing about virtual care is that it’s more than just technology. Virtual care is a movement – a shift in how healthcare organizations and consumers view care delivery.
Virtual care incorporates the data gleaned from all that telemedicine testing to create a dynamic and personalized healthcare delivery experience – not a “one-size-fits-all” telemedicine corral to video or phone.
Virtual care is more amorphous—and durable—by its nature. The excitement virtual care offers isn’t improved patient access (that’s table stakes) – it’s all the ways technology can improve care delivery for patients and health systems. Like linking Smart on FHIR apps for seamless navigation between systems and data sources.
Virtual Care incorporates an endless and ever evolving set of devices that can help providers more accurately and rapidly diagnose and treat their patients – and help patients receive treatment in a way that better fits their lives.
Virtual care is not anchored to a single department or moveable cart – it’s on iPads, in the pockets of nurses, on the screens of your smart TV.
Telemedicine regulations dictate a specific mode (phone or video) that limits patient and provider choice. Virtual care regulation is mode-agnostic and upholds the standard of care as the basis for regulation.
The Time for Testing is Past
It’s been incredible sitting at the tip of the spear in healthcare transformation the past decade. When I started Zipnosis, people told me no one would ever get a diagnosis without going into the clinic. Today, we’re part of a rapidly growing industry.
It’s time to stop testing with telemedicine. Telemedicine is the analog past. Virtual care is the digital future of healthcare; a future dominated by data and devices that permeate the fabric (literally) of our society.
So, when the brakes on your telemedicine cart start to fail, when the telemedicine engine seizes up at scale, and when the promises of a real ROI lose traction, consider upgrading to virtual care. It’ll be a much better ride.
Telemedicine = Testing
Virtual Care = Viable
About the Author
Jon Pearce is co-founder and CEO of Zipnosis. As a healthcare entrepreneur with experience in med-tech start-ups and as a venture analyst, he is focused on leveraging the power of technology to improve the way health systems engage with and treat their patients.