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4 reasons virtual care is here to stay

By Eddie Gammill, PhD, RN | August 12, 2022

The pandemic made virtual care necessary, but we’re finding we like the option of in-person and virtual care.
Health and Benefits|Ukupne nagrade |Benessere integrato

Did you use virtual care before 2020? If you said no, you’re not alone. Not many people did. In April 2020 use of telehealth was 38 times higher than it was before the pandemic, according to McKinsey. Though most health plans offered virtual care, few members used it.

Both the medical community and patients embraced virtual care during the pandemic, when people were required to stay home and told to avoid healthcare facilities unless necessary. As people sought virtual care for diabetes management, musculoskeletal issues, stress, etc., we quickly learned that virtual care can be delivered effectively. We also found we like the option of both in-person and virtual care.

According to the 2022 WTW Global Benefits Attitudes Survey of nearly 35,550 full-time employees, opinions on virtual care were overwhelmingly positive. When asked to compare virtual to face-to-face consultations:

  • 64% agreed or strongly agreed that virtual visits were more convenient
  • 64% said virtual care required less waiting time
  • 60% agreed or strongly agreed that virtual visits were at least as good as a traditional face-to-face consultation.

Here are four reasons why virtual care is here to stay:

  1. Convenience. No more getting dressed, driving, parking, checking in a waiting room and waiting for a visit. Care is literally provided to you from the convenience of your home – and maybe even bed – via a computer, tablet or phone. What a convenient option for a parent with one sick child and another at home.

    There are often scheduling options available for the user, like first available, future time or even times outside the nine-to-five schedule of most offices. If you are traveling or have a packed schedule, this flexibility is a welcome change from traditional provider schedules.

    Virtual visits also save time. According to an article in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, the average virtual care visit is typically less than 20 minutes compared to the traditional in-person visit that can be anywhere between two to four hours door to door.

  2. Greater access. Traditionally, in-person healthcare has been limited by geographical access. With virtual care, individuals are no longer limited to providers within a 25 to 50 mile radius. This has created greater access to both primary and specialty care. So the parent who has traditionally traveled an hour or more to a pediatric psychiatrist might now have a virtual option to support their child’s care – not only saving transportation time but also the time away from work and from the child’s school and activities. Less travel could also reduce appointment cancellations and help improve overall health.
  3. Cost savings. Virtual care can save individuals and employers money. These savings may be found in overall healthcare costs for employers, out-of-pocket savings for employees and increased productivity due to less time away from work. In fact, in the WTW 2022 Emerging Trends in Healthcare Survey found more than half of employers surveyed think the expansion of virtual care models will decrease healthcare costs. There are also cost savings for employees who do not have to pay for travel expenses, cost of fuel, parking, lost wages from being away from work, cost of child/backup care, etc.
  4. Larger network of providers: Virtual care supports diversity, equity and inclusion in provider search/selection. With a larger network of virtual providers, you can identify and select providers that are more aligned with your needs. Now members are more likely to find providers who look like them, speak the same language, or have skills and expertise to support their unique health needs.

    For example, a person living in a rural town can now be connected with providers of their choice, not restricted by distance. A person may feel more comfortable with a provider with expertise supporting the LGBT+ community or someone may prefer someone who speaks Spanish as a primary language. According to our 2022 Emerging Trends in Healthcare Survey, 60% of employers believe that virtual care can provide better access to culturally appropriate providers over the next three to five years.

Looking ahead

Virtual care is not new, but the pandemic has jump started its use. Over the past two and a half years we have seen evidence that virtual care works for employers, providers and employees – and we expect all of them to use this efficient and convenient form of healthcare delivery in the years to come.


Senior Director, National Growth Leader – Health, Equity and Wellbeing, Health and Benefits Consulting
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