2023 Virtual Care Predictions
Virtual care is one of the biggest developments to fuel digital transformation in recent healthcare history. What began as a solution to mitigate exposure and maintain ties between providers and patients at home during the pandemic has since spawned a hybrid care movement that seeks to further integrate virtual engagement into the standard of care within inpatient settings.
A September 2022 survey indicated that 66% of hospital executives feel that telehealth allows their organization to provide more comprehensive quality care.
In 2023, virtual care will continue to carve out its place as a complementary care modality, rather than an add-on or alternative to traditional care. Here are some predictions on what’s in store for virtual care in inpatient settings in the year ahead.
Health Systems will Take a More Strategic Approach to Telehealth
“In 2023, I think we’ll see hospitals and health systems take a more strategic approach to telehealth, in large part to address the staffing crisis, from burnout to the shortage of qualified resources. Inpatient hybrid care models will make virtual engagement available to every patient, giving clinicians and third-party providers remote access to every room. We are rapidly moving to a world where we drop the word telehealth and it just becomes how healthcare is delivered.” – Mike Brandofino, President and COO, Caregility (as quoted in Will We See a Value-Based World in 2023?)
Providers will Consolidate Siloed Telehealth Programs onto Platform-Based Solutions
“Given the tough economic conditions of the past few years, consolidation will be a key driver in health IT initiatives in 2023. Providers will look to centralize siloed telehealth programs onto platform-based solutions that are flexible enough to 1) support use cases across the enterprise, and 2) support integration with innovative connected care devices entering the market. The proper implementation and timely deployment of these resources will play an important role in supporting quality care delivery with a diminished healthcare workforce.” – Ron Gaboury, CEO, Caregility (as quoted in Will Technology Continue to Solve our Healthcare Challenges in 2023?)
Research by Sage Growth Partners punctuates this prediction, noting that 56% of hospital executives say they are focusing on sustaining or optimizing existing telehealth programs in 2023. This is likely driven by a desire to create more sustainable and scalable solutions after quickly implementing stop gaps at the onset of the pandemic.
Virtual Nursing will Move from Concept to Practical Application
“We’ll see virtual nursing move from concept to practical application as health systems seek to put a dent in workforce shortages in 2023. Hybrid nursing programs introduce virtual support resources and remote work flexibility to nursing teams, which can have a tremendous positive impact on nurse training, clinician experience, and care delivery.” – Wendy Deibert, SVP of Clinical Solutions, Caregility (as quoted in Healthcare Workforce – 2023 Health IT Predictions)
AI and Sensor-Based Tech will Redefine what Care Teams can Accomplish Remotely
“Broader integration of virtual resources into bedside care will create new value for health systems in 2023. Accelerated adoption of virtual workflows in hospitals and home-based care is introducing new use cases for AI and sensor-based technologies that will redefine what care teams can accomplish remotely.” – Pete McLain, Chief Strategy Officer, Caregility
Looking even further ahead, one industry thought leader proposed that 25% of acute-level care may be done in the patient’s home by the end of the decade, largely made possible by the adoption of remote monitoring solutions. Naysayers point to the potential expense of widescale virtual care implementation as a possible roadblock. Bundled, subscription-based virtual care solutions are emerging to help health systems overcome this barrier.
As virtual care and adjacent technologies continue to evolve, they will become vital tools within inpatient care delivery that give health systems new ways to deliver care in a safe, convenient, and cost-effective way.