The age demographics of the United States and Canada illustrate the growing need for more proactive ways in which to deliver healthcare to mitigate the demands on an already overwhelmed institutional healthcare sector. According to the Advisory Board, an estimated 3 million baby boomers will reach retirement age, each year, for the next 20 years. Additionally, chronic diseases amongst adults will continue to place high demands on the healthcare system, with, for example, 33% of adults being identified as obese, according to the CDC.
Both of these trends highlight a growing necessity for the management of chronic illnesses and for proactively reaching patients before they require hospital care.
For patients, virtual healthcare and monitoring have several advantages:
Virtual care provides an opportunity to increase patients’ access to medical treatment 24-hours a day, seven days a week. It has made access to care faster, easier, and a much more affordable option for many patients.
It is alarming that one in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year, according to the NCOA. As the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults, monitoring is not just about taking a snapshot of an individual’s health. It also includes incidents that may affect health beyond traditional monitoring technologies.
With a shortage of physicians and caregivers, virtual care provides better access to care by allowing physicians to treat more patients and provide more personalized care. The right data at the right time allows for better decision making, which helps with patient treatment.
Patients and their families get the most desired piece of mind when they know that an individual’s health and safety is being continually monitored and that negative events can be rapidly responded to. This not only includes medical conditions, but activities of daily living, such as slips and falls, and events related to memory care, such as wandering.
Connecting clinicians more directly and instantly with patient vitals and other relevant data can dramatically improve the overall health of the patient.
Clinician burnout not only affects the caregivers themselves, but long office hours, long commutes, and other barriers to access mean patients may not be provided with the consistency of the caregivers who take care of them. Virtual care removes some of those barriers and improves retention, and helps with patient satisfaction.
Virtual monitoring and visits generate cost savings by diverting patients away from more costly care settings, produce lower out-of-pocket costs to both the provider and patient, and are known to have a reduction in patient transportation and transfer costs.