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Comparing Virtual Consultations Vs. Traditional Consultations

Patients are accustomed to consuming healthcare in person. Over recent years, a transition to digital formats has been expedited due to the pandemic, and other cultural forces. As virtual consultations continue to increase in popularity, they can rival their traditional counterpart, for a more patient-centric approach to healthcare. Consumers are increasingly interested in a more convenient way to consume healthcare services.

Virtual consultations may make streamlining care easier by allowing for a process that is better, faster, and cheaper. We’re used to healthcare being consumed in a traditional manner that is now evolving. According to an academic research article titled Comparing virtual consults to traditional consults using an electronic health record: an observational case-control study published in Medical Informatics and Decision Making, virtual consultations may decrease the need for face-to-face interaction without decreasing the patient’s perception of care.

According to the article, some authors suggest that 25% to 70% of all patients seeking care do not need a face-to-face appointment with a physician. Virtual medicine could provide another means for these patients. The article goes on to state that 49.4% of the patients surveyed (267 out of 540) reported that they were satisfied with their care irrespective of the type of consult. Patients are increasingly taking to a more convenient format that accommodates busy schedules.

What a Traditional Consultation Looks Like

We’re all familiar with the format for traditional consultations when it comes to healthcare: a physical appearance at the doctor’s office preceded by a sometimes-lengthy period in the waiting room. While this is still a largely available option that allows for face-to-face interaction, there aren’t as many distinct advantages to this approach as once thought. Sometimes it may help a physician to witness symptoms first-hand, but technology is improving to the point that it's not always necessary.

What a Virtual Consultation Looks Like

In both a virtual consultation and an in-person traditional care consultation, the provider reviews medical records before interviewing the patient to assess their condition and provide advice. The difference comes in the use of technology to connect the provider and the patient. The provider will use a secure teleconferencing platform designed to meet healthcare industry compliances while creating a comfortable experience for the patient.

At that point, the patient and the physician can have a similar conversation to the one they’d have if the patient was sitting on an exam table within the clinic. The physician could direct the patient to reposition the web camera for a closer look at any physical symptoms the patient might be experiencing. The teleconferencing platforms also allow for third-party connections if a consultation was needed.

The Benefits of Virtual Consultations

Many types of healthcare consultations can now be provided virtually through a secure telemedicine platform. Some types of visits require an in-person physical examination, but many do not. While it’s not what American healthcare consumers are used to, the advantages are proving plentiful.

  • No commute time or cost because the patient does not need to leave their home for the appointment

  • Better options for on-demand care because a doctor is more readily available in the event they’re needed

  • More specialists available with more immediate access

  • No added risk for exposure to illness because you’re not around more people

  • No need to spend time in the waiting room

  • Improved control over chronic illness

  • More mental health resources available to patients

  • Enhanced patient comfort in the home environment

  • An ability to provide a well-rounded assessment in the patient’s home environment

Virtual Care Is Likely Here to Stay

Virtual care has been around since before the pandemic, but it became a more prominent form of healthcare to minimize the exposure to potential illness. Whether it is through their primary care physician, a specialist, or a mental health practitioner, the patient has come to expect virtual consultations.

Patients are experiencing the convenience of the approach and are looking to capitalize on the medical care provided without the need to leave their home.

Now Is the Time for Providers to Transition to Virtual Care

Medical providers need to be ready for the demands of the post-pandemic healthcare landscape, as consumers have grown accustomed to being able to see their doctors using virtual technology without needing to leave their home. It’s important to partner with a company you trust to provide a platform that meets regulatory compliances and can be used in a safe and effective manner.

HBox recognizes the challenges that practices face as they build out the virtual care experience for their patients. We are readily available with a platform and devices designed to make the transition a smooth one. If you would like to know more about the practices we’ve helped, and what we can do for yours, email us at or call us at (888) 426-9462!



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