Ray Costantini, M.D., MBA, CEO and Co-Founder, Bright.md
It’s that time of year again. Healthcare delivery systems are preparing for the onslaught of patients who will walk through the door with cough, cold, and flu symptoms in various stages of severity. This season presents providers with challenges ranging from controlling contagion and protecting fragile populations to increased workloads and supply and demand discrepancies.
So, like every year, systems are informing patients about CDC’s flu shot recommendations and then setting up clinics where patients can get them; educating schools and the rest of the community about outbreak conditions; ordering extra supplies; and staffing up for the increased number of patient visits.
Healthcare providers that offer virtual care—especially asynchronous virtual care– to their patients are often better equipped to deal with this challenging time of year. They can encourage sick patients to seek care from the comfort of their homes, reducing the number of people who they could spread the virus to—including at-risk populations such as pregnant women, newborn babies, elderly patients, and those with weakened immune systems.
While all remote-care programs can help manage contagion, asynchronous virtual access solutions offer some unique benefits. Solutions that provide automation support increase provider efficiency when treating high-demand but low-acuity conditions, like the flu. This frees up time for clinicians to meet the needs of patients with high-acuity needs or chronic conditions. Increased efficiency can also help prevent provider burnout, which is typically at a dangerous high during the fall and winter months.