What if health care were designed so that in-person visits were the second, third, or even last option for meeting routine patient needs, rather than the first? This question seems to elicit two basic responses — sometimes expressed in the same breath: “The idea will upset many physicians, who are already under duress” and “I wish my health care worked that way.”
Face-to-face interactions will certainly always have a central role in health care, and many patients prefer to see their physician in person. But a system focused on high-quality nonvisit care would work better for many others — and quite possibly for physicians as well. Virtually all physicians already use nonvisit interactions to some extent, but their improvised approaches could be vastly improved if health systems were designed with such care as the explicit goal.
Progress in this direction is already under way. At Kaiser Permanente, for example, 52% of the more than 100 million patient encounters each year are now “virtual visits.” The organization has been able to innovate in this area in part because it spends about 25% of its annual $3.8 billion capital budget on information technology. Nevertheless, these virtual visits only scratch the surface of what’s possible with today’s technology.
Read More: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1710735?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=hot_off_the_presses_sean_duffy_in_the_new_england_journal_of_medicine&utm_term=2018-01-10&#article