In our recent webinar, “Return to Care: Preparing for Tomorrow’s Healthcare Needs,” hosted by Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser, I along with our Chief Medical Officer Ami Parekh took a look at the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on our healthcare system and how an integrated virtual care strategy can help employers return to care—as well as the workplace—through this year and the next. We also shared how customers have taken on this necessary transformation head-on.
Below are some highlights from our hour-long discussion.
Employers Are Looking for Clinically Expert Solutions
With the COVID-19 outbreak, there’s been widespread confusion among employees, with requests from benefits teams for the clinical science behind what’s happening. Questions abound such as:
- How do we follow new CDC guidelines as they change week over week?
- How do we implement these guidelines in our going-back-to-work strategy?
- How can we have our employees re-engage with healthcare safely?
Our customers want a team that can help them—from a clinical perspective—think about how they can help inform and educate employees about COVID as well as get them back to work and back to care.
Four Issues Stand in the Way of Healthcare Going Back to Normal
- Primary care physicians are under extreme pressure. Less than 50% of PCP practices report having enough cash on hand to stay open, and over a third have laid off or furloughed staff in the last four weeks.
- Decreased in-person specialty care is depriving high-risk patients of the care they need. In-person specialty care nationwide has decreased 60% in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Those with complex care needs are especially vulnerable. COVID-19 patients with an underlying condition are six times as likely to be hospitalized and 12 times as likely to die.
- Behavioral health needs will remain elevated due to the pandemic. In the U.S., 37% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in June 2020—vs. 11% last year.
Integrated Virtual Care Is the Light at the End of the Tunnel
Almost 90% of members surveyed say COVID-19 has made telehealth an indispensable part of the healthcare system. And 65% say they plan to use telehealth more after the pandemic. We’ve come face to face with a moment of real change, because the traditional provider system that we’ve all depended on is shrinking.
Of course, we’re still at the very early stage of this journey. Telemedicine is currently too transactional and limited primarily to urgent care needs. And the complexities of navigating healthcare have left many seeking the wrong options or opting out of care altogether.
That said, the time is right for a new kind of healthcare experience. This experience integrates virtual care that’s based around the member with navigation that helps simplify the healthcare system, enabling a single front door for all of the member’s clinical and administrative needs.
Advanced Virtual Care Combined With Navigation Must Be the New Normal
It’s crucial to have the right tools and data insights to create a new standard of care that:
- Expands beyond transactional and disconnected virtual care.
- Addresses social determinants of health and access limitations.
- Supports continuity of care and better patient adherence.
- Allows for better collaboration with local healthcare providers.
Our care team stays with the patient wherever they are, whenever they want to call, chat and text with us—24/7, 365. We’re there for them in those most complex care moments, quarterbacking all the way through, and then layering on a behavioral health component, which we know is as important as the clinical context.
That’s a winning combination, and it’s one that employers can feel very confident about scaling nationally, because it’s been designed virtually. It doesn’t rely on any one specific local point of interaction with the provider system.
Since our founding, we’ve been solely focused on delivering better member care with employers as our partners. We’re going to continue to push the boundaries of what we think is possible in providing whole-person care for everyone, everywhere.
Want to learn more about how Grand Rounds is helping employers raise the standard of care? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.