What Will Doctor’s Visits Look Like Going Forward?
Authored by Ayesha Rajan, Research Analyst at Vikriti Management Consulting
Only a few years ago, entrepreneurs were trying to find ways to connect doctors to patients in a way that seemed innovative and groundbreaking. Having a tool that could instantly connect you to a physician seemed almost impossible – what about wait times? Questionnaires? Height and weight measurements? How could all of the things that seemed impossible to do from the comfort of your home become mainstream? Covid-19, however, completely changed the landscape of telemedicine and healthcare in general. What seemed years away is here now which is a good thing in many ways but there are still improvements to be made. What will doctors visits look like now that we are in a world that may very likely see telemedicine be the primary delivery method for healthcare?
Anyone who has had a doctor’s appointment during the time of this pandemic knows that one thing that has been foregone is the general measurements taken at the beginning of a doctor’s visit. Height and weight are not measured, nor other important measurements such as blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels or temperature. For many adults, height and weight can be bypassed as their heights remain consistent and many homes have a scale; many households also have a thermometer somewhere in the house as well. However, for those who do not have a scale or thermometer this can be problematic. Furthermore, most homes do not have the tools necessary to measure blood pressure, heart rate or oxygen levels. To combat this, general practices may include such kits or wearable technologies for their new patients that are provided through insurance, fees or payment plans. This will enable patients to either take their measurements at home or have their wearable devices synced to a patient portal which can give their physician a general overview of their health rather than the quick glimpse they get at the doctors office. Another aspect of many doctor’s visits in recent months has been the use of Zoom rooms for meetings. Anyone who has used Zoom knows that is not the most engaging interface. As time goes on, we will likely see many startups pitch platforms that are more intuitive, engaging and secure. Though it may seem counterintuitive, one of the biggest benefits of this version of delivery will be increased affordability for patients and increased profits for providers. This is because the decreased wait times and increase in accessibility means that these appointments can happen with less time and with higher frequency, while also having fewer no-show appointments which costs the healthcare system billions of dollars annually.
As online appointments for doctors offices become more mainstream, the way a doctor’s appointment looks will change drastically from the image we have in our heads. We will likely be provided the tools to perform many health measurements at home, thus creating a demand for wearable devices or at-home technologies, and changes to the current platform used for delivery. We will also see an increase in accessibility to healthcare which will decrease the burden put on patients, such as commutes and wait times, and increase the efficiency of the healthcare system.