The question of what the healthcare of tomorrow will look like is always a key strategic issue for those leading healthcare organizations. In my view, the answer is really clear - care support and primary care delivery is moving back into the patient’s home - and their phone.
Locating services in a patient’s home (either via technology or a smart service delivery model) is the answer. The home is the least expensive and most convenient setting for care. If care cannot be delivered in the home, it should be at a nearby retail clinic with extended service hours and on-line scheduling.
One key way the home can become a primary setting for healthcare is through telemedicine. This is particularly true in rural areas, where a patient may have to drive hours to get to a doctor’s office. This form of virtual care will become more and more common as telemedicine becomes more widely adopted.
The millennial generation - soon to be the single largest portion of the workforce - are a big part of the drive toward telemedicine and virtual care support. They want to receive routine care in their homes. They’re also happy to see a mid-level provider who will show up at their door and provide routine services. They want to text message their questions. They desire convenience.
Over the next 5-10 years, hospitals will likely focus even more on Complex Care, Emergency Rooms, Intensive Care Units and Operating Rooms. The day-to-day primary care and care support will likely be done in the convenience of the home, neighborhood retail outlets and virtually on our phones. The degree to which incumbent systems remain competitive in the space is hinged on their ability to create a compelling, convenient, and enjoyable primary care experience for the consumer.
Having care easily accessible is not only more convenient for patients, it also produces more cost effective care.