Through virtual visits we’re helping more people on their path to better health. For many, it’s a new kind of care.
How telehealth connects patients to care
As COVID-19 began to spread, ChuckName changed to protect patient privacy. , a 62-year-old chef with a heart condition, sheltered-in-place at his partner’s remote Colorado ranch. After developing a fever, cough and upper respiratory symptoms, Chuck scheduled a telehealth visit, which allows patients to virtually consult a doctor by video chat or by phone.
Like 90% of Americans before the pandemic, Chuck had never tried telehealth services. Now, with health insurers temporarily waiving co-pays and the federal government easing regulations, telemedicine may have reached a tipping point.
“I had a lot of anxiety,” says Chuck. “That stress was alleviated knowing that I could be in the middle of nowhere and feel like I have a doctor right there by my side.”
As the country reopens, telehealth will play an important role providing health care, says Adam Pellegrini, Senior Vice President, Transformation Consumer Innovation and Enterprise Virtual Care, CVS Health.
“We are focused on how we can help the consumer navigate to the right care for the right medium in a way that has the best health outcome.”
Like Chuck, nearly three-fourths of respondents in a 2020 survey would consider using a telehealth service if they had COVID-19 symptoms, and two-thirds say the pandemic increased their willingness to try telehealth in the future.
In the first quarter of 2020, virtual visits though MinuteClinic® locations grew about 600% over the same quarter in 2019. Aetna also experienced a dramatic increase in daily telehealth engagements.
Going forward, telehealth will be an integrated part of an individual’s overall health care journey, says Pellegrini, citing CVS Health’s unique combination of Aetna’s broad network of health care providers and its nearly 10,000 retail pharmacies in communities across the United States.
“Because of the holistic approach we have with our assets, we can actually map a patient’s entire care process to make it as seamless and as frictionless as possible,” says Pellegrini.
“Early action keeps people healthy, which benefits patients, doctors, and insurers,” says Justin Steinman, Vice President, Commercial Products, for Aetna. “If we can get you to care quickly because telemedicine is convenient, it’s going to be a win-win-win for everybody.”
Chuck, now 100% recovered, expressed enthusiasm for new ways to use telemedicine. “It’s exciting that even during a stressful time, I’ve had an experience like this open me up to a possible paradigm shift in my connection with the medical community,” he says. “Sometimes real good comes out of tough times.”