Telehealth News Recap - Oct 2023

Keeping up with the latest news in the virtual care space is challenging. Wheel's Virtual Care News is a monthly newsletter for stakeholders in the digital health industry. As a subscriber, you'll receive timely information on trending news, regulatory updates, engaging conversations, and key innovations emerging in the space

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Explore the latest healthcare industry trends, insights, and innovations in October’s Virtual Care News roundup.

This month, we’re talking about the rapid rise of non-physician healthcare visits in the U.S. and the future of team-based care, the results of J.D. Power’s Telehealth Satisfaction Survey, how generative AI will change the role of the clinician, and more. Plus, a brand new survey and other news from Wheel.

👻 Happy spooky season! 🎃

What's New at Wheel

Countdown to HLTH

Wheel @ HLTH
We're just DAYS away from the industry's innovation event, HLTH 2023 in Las Vegas! As a reminder, we'll be there at booth #2042. Please drop by to learn how Wheel can power your business. You also won’t want to miss the opportunity to spin our Prize Wheel for a chance to win some awesome items (think Away luggage, AirPods, JBL speakers, and more!)

Wheel >

Wheel Commissioned Consumer Survey Sheds Light on Virtual Care Trends

Now more than ever, consumers are demanding healthcare experiences that make it easy for us all to be more proactive with our health. As virtual care develops, organizations prioritizing consumer-centric solutions will succeed.

This July, we surveyed more than 2,000 consumers in partnership with an independent market research firm to find out how people view virtual care today, what evolutions could drive or hinder greater adoption, who consumers trust to deliver their care virtually, and more.

Interesting findings include:

  • Half of consumers say virtual care motivated them to seek out preventive care they would not have if it required going in person.

  • The majority of consumers are open to virtual care from non-traditional providers like health insurers, retail drug store chains, life science companies, and large retailers.

  • Nearly two-thirds of consumers are not concerned about disjointed care - that receiving care from multiple providers would negatively impact their health.

Check out the full survey results here, and don’t miss the 1-minute recap video for quick takeaways!

Trends & Insights

A Fourth of U.S. Health Visits Now Delivered by Non-Physicians

From 2013 to 2019, the number of U.S. healthcare visits delivered by nurse practitioners and physician assistants increased rapidly from 14 to 26 percent, according to a study published in the BMJ. The co-authors of the study Ateev Mehrota and Sadiq Patel spoke with HMNews about the impact of these findings. As the nation continues to struggle with physician shortages, the pair points out how important it is to invest in research on how to best structure teams of clinicians to provide the highest quality care to the most people in need.

Harvard Medical News >
Full BMJ Study >

Virtual Care in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Analyzing Innovation, Investment and Hiring Trends

Pharmaceutical Technology's quarterly update on virtual care trends across the pharmaceutical industry is now available for Q2 2023. Here are the key takeaways:

  • The number of virtual care-related patents is on the rise, up 13% from last quarter and 75% from Q2 2022

  • There are substantial strategic investments being made in virtual care, including NURX’s acquisition from The Pill Club in June

  • Job posting data indicates that pharmaceutical companies are bullish on virtual care and plan to invest heavily in healthcare practitioner and technical occupation roles

Pharmaceutical Technology >

4 Steps Needed to Improve Patient Safety On a National Level, Per PCAST

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) issued a report in September laying out four recommendations for improving patient safety nationwide. The report presents this as an “urgent national public health issue” and cites data showing one in four Medicare patients experiences adverse events during their hospital stay, 40% of which are caused by avoidable errors. Here is what PCAST recommended:

  • Establishing and maintaining federal leadership for the improvement of patient safety as a national priority

  • Ensuring that patients across the country benefit from evidence-based practices for preventing harm and addressing risks

  • Partnering with patients to reduce disparities in medical errors and adverse outcomes

  • Accelerating research and deployment of practices, technologies and exemplar systems of safe care

MedCity News >
Full PCAST Report >

First Opinions & Engaging Conversations

Telehealth Mobile Apps: Preferred Channel for Virtual Care Delivery but Generational Differences Persist, J.D. Power Finds

J.D. Power released its 2023 U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study last month. The study, now in its fourth year, measures customer satisfaction with telehealth services. 5,424 healthcare customers were surveyed. Following are the study’s key findings:

  • While patients are generally satisfied with telehealth services (698 on a 1,000-point scale), Gen Y and Gen Z members report significantly higher satisfaction than Boomers and Pre-Boomers

  • Satisfaction is reported highest in areas related to people (doctor, physician’s assistant, nurse, nurse practitioner, etc.) and visits meeting needs, but lower when it comes to overall levels of trust

  • The primary reasons patients give for selecting telehealth over an in-person visit are convenience (28%) and the ability to receive care quickly (17%)

The study also asked respondents to rank telehealth satisfaction with direct-to-consumer and health services.

  • CVS ranks highest in telehealth satisfaction among direct-to-consumer brands, with a score of 744. MDLIVE (741) ranks second and Amwell (739) ranks third

  • United Healthcare ranks highest among payers of health plan-provided telehealth services, with a score of 702. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan (701) ranks second and Humana (695) ranks third

JD Power Press Release >

    How Will Generative AI Change the Role of Clinicians In the Next 10 Years?

    In the next 5-10 years, clinicians can expect generative AI tools to streamline many aspects of their day, according to a report from Citi. While this tech will be especially beneficial for physicians in automating diagnoses and responding to patient questions, the report also predicts that consumer use of AI tools will improve chatbot conversations and allow patients to answer medical questions in the way a doctor would. The report importantly notes their prediction that these tools will aid in clinician decision-making and not replace it.

    MedCity News >

    Policy & Regulatory Updates

    Trending in Telehealth: Legislation and Rulemaking

    Increased activity in California continues. California continues to move forward with legislation to address access to healthcare services via telehealth. While these bills generally increase access, they address specific scenarios, reflecting an openness to telehealth under specific circumstances.
    States continue to focus on Medicaid reimbursement for substance abuse disorder and addiction treatment. States are working to address the Medicaid population’s need for access to these services through the expanded use of telehealth.
    States continue to amend practice standards to incorporate telehealth. In September, we saw Texas, Alaska, and Maryland introduce and make effective rules related to telehealth practice standards. This activity continues the trend of states expanding telehealth standards to include additional practice areas and address different license types.

    JD Supra >

    Growth & Innovation

    Bicycle Health, Albertsons Partner To Boost Access to Opioid Use Disorder Injections

    Bicycle Health has partnered with Albertsons to offer virtual prescriptions for monthly buprenorphine injections for opioid use disorder. The extended-release injections can be prescribed through the company's app and obtained from an on-site pharmacist at one of the 700 participating Albertsons' pharmacies across 17 states. This partnership will help increase access to medications for opioid use disorder by offering new treatment options and follows the recent trend of retail pharmacies innovating through virtual care solutions.

    MobiHealth News >

    Zocdoc Launches Free Suite of Tools for Docs To Engage Patients, Save Time on Admin Tasks

    Zocdoc has recently launched Zocdoc Practice Solutions, a suite of tools designed to help healthcare providers reach, manage, and keep their patients. The suite includes a variety of features like Intake, Online Scheduling, and Video Service, all of which are available for free to any provider, regardless of whether they use Zocdoc or not. These tools are built to integrate into existing workflows, helping providers reduce their administrative burden. Early users report saving an average of 15 minutes per patient on administrative tasks, which is a significant time saver for busy healthcare professionals.

    Fierce Healthcare >

    Industry Roundup

    Funding updates and innovative collaborations from the last month.

    Women’s healthcare startup Evvy has raised $14M in Series A funding

    Healthcare data privacy platform Integral received $7M in seed funding

    Walgreens and Pearl Health announce partnership to help primary care providers engage in value-based care

    Walmart is reportedly exploring an acquisition of value-based primary care chain ChenMed

    Wheel News

    Wheel's Enhanced Platform Officially Launches

    In case you missed it, last week we announced the next generation of the Wheel platform, designed to deliver on the true promise of consumer-centric care! After acquiring the GoodRx care delivery platform, we've spent much of the last year enhancing it with improved tools and functionality.

    The enhanced Wheel platform combines configurable virtual care programs, a seamless consumer experience, and a nationwide clinician network — empowering enterprise organizations with everything they need to meet this growing demand for convenient, personalized, and comprehensive care.

    Read the news in Fierce Healthcare >

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