Virtual approaches could aid staffing, health: report

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Seniors housing and care organizations may be able to address some of their staffing challenges, while helping residents improve their health, through virtual healthcare technology, suggests a new report from Accenture.

“Healthcare is one of the most labor-intensive of all industries,” according to the 2017 Consumer Survey on Virtual Health. “At the same time, the U.S., like the rest of the world, is facing shortages of many clinicians and health professionals. Tight resources and demand that outpaces supply require new approaches, and virtual health innovation can deliver services that are scalable, less labor-intensive and lower-cost.”

Accenture surveyed 1,501 U.S.-based consumers aged 18 or more years and found that “[w]hether having a telemedicine clinical encounter with a physician, telehealth support such as medication-related reminders or tracking health indicators such as blood pressure and blood sugars, or receiving daily support to manage an ongoing health issue, consumers are ready to try virtual healthcare,” according to the report.

Adults aged 65 or more years said they were motivated to manage their own healthcare to maintain their health or to manage a condition, according to the survey. Such information on this age group and others can be useful to providers, payers and policymakers, the researchers said.

“Healthcare organizations that act now will enter the market while virtual health is still in its growth phase, avoiding the pitfalls of late market entry or being challenged to capture market share and differentiate in a mature market,” they wrote.

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