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We’re witnessing the dawn of a new era in healthcare. Virtual care is no longer a ‘nice-to-have,’ AI is always one step ahead, and patients have more choice (and more privacy concerns) than ever.

Rock Health’s ninth annual Consumer Adoption Survey offers a terrific overview of these pivotal trends.

A few things that stood out:

Virtual care is now a non-negotiable, but there’s still room for improvement

76% of people surveyed said they’d used virtual care before, and 83% of those people had used it in the last 12 months.

This adoption rate – steady for 3 years – makes it clear that virtual care is no longer just a pandemic-era stopgap, but is now a foundational part of our healthcare system.

At the same time, 24% had not used virtual care at all. Most (56%) simply cite a preference for traditional in-person care. But why?

Quality control may be a culprit.

Among those who’d never used virtual care, 18% pointed to concerns about quality – the second biggest reason for choosing in-person over virtual.

Virtual prescription refills and mental health visits are on the rise

The proportion of people that prefer virtual care to in-person care increased most YoY for prescription refills (69%, +8pp) and mental health (41%, +3pp).

Makes sense. Two of the main reasons those surveyed preferred virtual care were convenience (39%) and short wait times (30%).

Been to a pharmacy lately? 😅

Meanwhile, mental health topped the list of specialty visits conducted virtually, with more and more patients seeing it as a “typical” form care delivery.

Patients are open to sharing data, but not willy-nilly

Data is king nowadays, especially in the context of AI models and training, and patients get that.

90% of those surveyed said they’re willing to share healthcare data with at least one healthcare entity.

But they’re also getting more cautious about how much they share and with whom.

The proportion willing to share data dropped YoY across all entities (willing to share with 3.4 entities in 2022 vs 2.7 in 2023).

The biggest drop in percentage was sharing with doctors/clinicians (64% willing in 2023 versus 70% in 2022). But at the same time, patients are most willing to share data with this group.

Health tech companies don’t fare well by comparison (only 14% willing to share in 2023, down from 15% in 2022 and 25% in 2020).
My takeaway? Along with ensuring privacy, healthcare orgs need to *make clear* and *clearly demonstrate* the value patients can get from sharing data.

Final takeaway

As we navigate this new era of consumer engagement, it’s clear that high-quality virtual care and boosting patient trust are key.

For us at Verbal, that means using AI to give teams the support and insights they need to do their best work. Less admin, more and better feedback and training. A better experience on both sides of the screen

Waleed Mohsen

Author Waleed Mohsen

Waleed Mohsen is the CEO and founder of Verbal. He has been named a UCSF Rosenman Innovator and has over 10 years of experience working with leaders of hospitals and medical institutions in his business development roles at Siemens and Cisco

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