Future healthcare may look nothing like we’ve imagined.
Faster, more affordable, and accessible remotely – home-based care options emerged amid the pandemic but have seen a massive acceleration since then.
What’s coming down the pike in virtual care and how it’s going to change the way we do healthcare – we sat down to discuss these questions with Garet Free, Vice President of Partner Success and Strategy at DispatchHealth, a company that develops in-home healthcare models.
Virtual care x telehealth
Team Health Tech Forward: Hi, Garet! It’s a pleasure to have you here. To start off, could you explain to our readers what virtual healthcare is and how exactly it fits into telehealth?
Garet Free: Hi, it’s a pleasure to be here!
Virtual healthcare is this exciting space where we have the opportunity to leverage a multifactorial approach to address health outcomes wherever a patient feels the most comfortable.
As this industry segment matures, we are seeing many opportunities to holistically engage with patients from physical, emotional, social, proactive, and reactive standpoints. So, integrating virtual care into a system’s broader care delivery strategy is logically the next step to addressing holistic patient outcomes.
From my point of view, virtual healthcare is the next level of telehealth. It will help with humanizing the virtual experience so that patients still feel engaged in a meaningful way while focusing on improving outcomes.
Team Health Tech Forward: The market for virtual healthcare has grown significantly, especially within the last several years. How do you see it evolving, and what are the biggest trends in the field?
Garet Free: It has been so fun to see the evolution of virtual care during the last several years! As the industry continues to grow, I really feel that the virtual space will begin to focus more on longitudinal outcome management instead of addressing episodic issues.
Designing quality virtual care
Team Health Tech Forward: Good point! Sometimes, though, it still seems that there is a gap between the promise and reality in virtual care. What is missing and what’s important to know about designing and providing virtual care?
Garet Free: In my opinion, it can be easy to lose the human element of healthcare when it comes to virtual care. While the chassis of virtual care is technology, most consumers still prefer to engage with a person when it comes to healthcare decisions. As we look to take virtual care to the next level, centering ourselves on the necessary human component is critical to success.
What’s next for the sector?
Team Health Tech Forward: Speaking of the next level for virtual care, where do you think the sector is headed, and what will it look like in five years?
Garet Free: With all of the options that are being created and optimized, I feel that we are headed to a world where employers, providers, and insurance companies will have a panel of covered options to help their populations focus on prevention and cost-effective options to address acute events, all while striving to improve outcomes.
Think of it as a hub that provides everything from a personalized approach to exercise and nutrition to managing chronic conditions, providing patient education, and helping patients select the best options for medical or surgical care.
The options are really endless, but there is a way to pull it all together so that those responsible for paying for a patient’s healthcare can provide a suite of offerings to support healthy living and informed healthcare decisions.
Team Health Tech Forward: That sounds like the future is looking quite bright! Speaking of the future, what can we expect from DispatchHealth over the next year? Any exciting plans?
Garet Free: We are in an exciting growth phase as we build the largest home-care system. We continue to explore innovative services while we focus on seeing every patient that can safely be seen. We are driving toward extending our services to more communities and patients while maintaining our industry record-breaking net promoter score of >95.
Team Health Tech Forward: Thank you, Garet! It was great chatting with you!
Garet Free: Thank you!
Garet Free, Vice President of Partner Success and Strategy at DispatchHealth, is a passionate leader in healthcare delivery, quality improvement, and technology. Starting in healthcare as a paramedic, he has focused his energy on improving care delivery pathways and innovative approaches to caring for patients.
DispatchHealth™ is an on-demand urgent medical care service that dispatches a medical team to the comfort of a home or office. Learn more at dispatchhealth.com