Virtual Care and Digital Health Are Here to Stay
As Americans stayed home during the COVID-19 pandemic, they enthusiastically adopted a variety of digital and virtual health care solutions.
Almost one in four consumers reported using these solutions due to COVID-19, and 40 percent believe the use of virtual care solutions will increase even after the pandemic subsides, according to a recent Evernorth survey of health care market trends. Three out of four Americans believe that even more care will be delivered at home in the future.
Even before COVID-19, this trend was apparent as the global digital health market was projected to reach $380 billion by 2024, growing 26 percent annually. Existing digital health products are projected to save $46 billion in U.S. health care spending if they’re deployed strategically and comprehensively, which is why harnessing digital innovation was a priority for benefits buyers in 2020 and beyond.
However, despite the clinical and financial benefits of health care-related apps and their increased adoption since the beginning of COVID-19, roadblocks to long-term engagement remain. While many consumers download health care-related apps, 46 percent have stopped using these apps, citing cost, waning interest or concerns about privacy. This data suggests that encouraging consumer engagement within an app requires a complete strategy, including techniques that work to introduce, educate, motivate and sustain the interest of providers and patients.
To address these challenges, plan sponsors can take these key steps:
- Vet all virtual care options for efficacy, user experience and cost, in partnership with health care partners
- When introducing new virtual care solutions, utilize a robust communications and education strategy to educate, motivate and sustain the interest of providers and patients
- Integrate virtual care into plan and benefit strategies and provide appropriate incentives to direct members to the most effective care options
Even as consumers and plan sponsors continue to adapt to the increasing role of technology in health care, new solutions will continue to accelerate the pace of change. Decision-makers should continue to watch the virtual care space and evaluate opportunities to incorporate future technologies.
Our “Health Care in Focus” report provides more insights into consumer and decision-maker perspectives around three key trends:
- An increased acceptance and adoption of virtual health care solutions
- A proactive quest for whole-person health
- A desire for greater predictability and affordability
Download the full report for an in-depth look at the data.