Virtual care: the first step on any healthcare journey

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The past year has accelerated the use of virtual care services beyond anyone’s expectations. In fact, a McKinsey & Company study shows that adoption increased from 11% of consumers in 2019 to 46% by the end of May 2020.

Now it’s time to unlock the power and potential of virtual care to support people not just when they’re sick but as part of their lifelong efforts to achieve better health.

This path toward whole-person virtual care will be shaped by five key perspectives.

1) Whole-person virtual care is essential care

Integrated, whole-person virtual care helps ease the strain on global health systems while supporting the health and well-being needs of individuals whenever and wherever they need it most. 

Done well, it spans every stage of the health journey: from wellness and prevention and acute care to chronic conditions and complex care. It offers care in the moment and over time as people’s health needs and goals change. And it acknowledges and addresses the impact that mental health has on physical health.

Through the application of large-scale data, these interactions can be highly personalized to engage people in meaningful ways to drive lasting behavior change and better outcomes.

2) Global delivery of quality care at scale is possible

Whole-person virtual care augments and extends care delivery, especially in areas that lack access to medical equipment, infrastructure and specialized training.

For example, whole-person virtual care may include connected devices for managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Real-time data from these devices offers clinicians a convenient, secure way to monitor the health of the people they serve from anywhere, at a scale previously impossible.

Meanwhile, clinicians across all specialties enjoy increased collaboration in a virtual environment, allowing them to practice at the top of their license and deliver better health outcomes for all.

3) A hybrid model of collaborative care has arrived


In 2020, clinicians, primary care physicians, specialists and mental health experts turned to virtual care to stay connected with patients when in-person office visits and procedures were impossible or unadvisable. This underscored an important role of whole-person virtual care: connecting a fragmented healthcare system. But virtual care was designed to augment in-person care, not fully replace it.

Combining traditional, in-person healthcare visits with virtual care expands the capabilities and capacity of health systems, removing geographic barriers to care, enhancing collaboration across care teams—including mental health providers—and supporting a continuity of care.

4) Technology transforms the healthcare experience

Highly personalized, efficient and convenient digital experiences influence consumer expectations in every aspect of life. Healthcare is no different.  

Whole-person virtual care delivers increasingly personalized experiences and drives digital-first use patterns. Applied behavioral and engagement science—such as proactively encouraging people to take a relevant next health action—builds meaningful experiences and exceptional consumer engagement over time. As people use and trust these services, they will turn to digital as the first step on any healthcare journey. Offering easy-to-use technologies with almost instant access to expert human interactions when needed is positively transforming the healthcare experience.

5) Equitable access is fundamental to whole-person care
To meet the healthcare needs of global populations, we must overcome three specific hurdles:

  • Access to convenient, affordable care
  • Access to specialty care
  • Access to personalized care

Comprehensive virtual medical and mental healthcare services help alleviate these issues. These solutions must address the diverse healthcare needs of global markets while staying grounded in the needs, regulations and expectations of the local population.


With all this in mind, whole-person virtual care is primed to play an essential role in the healthcare ecosystem. The benefits are clear, and the potential is practically limitless.

Learn how Teladoc Health is shaping the path forward for virtual care here.

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