In brief

In brief

  • Accenture surveyed 2700 patients about changes in care during COVID-19 and found a major shift to virtual care, which patients embraced.
  • With 70% of patients deferring or cancelling treatment, virtual tools were widely adopted as an essential lifeline for continuing care.
  • Patients had highly positive experiences using video calls and devices for guidance and monitoring, and want to continue their use post-pandemic.
  • Virtual care is here to stay, and can be an integral part of the patient experience with health care providers and as part of clinical trials.

COVID-19 has changed the healthcare landscape

Patients have faced new challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, with healthcare providers less accessible and fears of exposure to the virus if they leave their homes to get treatment. This survey explores how COVID-19 changed their care experience, how they felt about those changes and what new behaviors they want to continue in the future.

The survey results are from 2,700 patients located in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Japan with participants that had to have been going to a health care facility for treatment or self-administering at home and have one of the following conditions: Cardiovascular, Immunology and Oncology.

9 OUT OF 10

felt that the care they received from their healthcare provider was as good or better than before COVID-19

Patient found care was as good or better than before COVID-19

Patients chose to defer and change their care

As restrictions came into effect, patients faced difficult choices about whether and how to continue their treatments. Many healthcare providers cancelled appointments, and transportation options were shut down. Patients were afraid to risk exposure to COVID-19 by going to their healthcare providers for regular treatment, and many deferred or even changed their treatments.

Clinical trials were disrupted by COVID-19. For trials that continued, the use of virtual care was critical for consultations, treatment, and monitoring, but was not as widely adopted in clinical trials as it was for the care that the patient population received from their regular healthcare providers.


of patients deferred or cancelled treatments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

1 out of 5

patients switched to a different therapy due to COVID-19, while nearly half considered making a change.


of patients said that they felt at least slightly afraid


were very afraid of possible exposure during a visit to their healthcare provider


of patients had their clinical trials suspended or delayed due to COVID-19

Reimagining patient engagement

As patients avoided healthcare facilities, they learned to use new technologies to continue their care. Virtual tools became essential lifelines for communication and guidance for patients now administering their own treatments at home. By using technology to support communication and care, healthcare providers were largely able to maintain or even improve on the patient experience. Patients appreciated the more personalized interactions, the faster response time, and the convenience of being able to manage and monitor their care from home.

Nearly half of all patients reported that they are now getting treatment at home instead of going to their healthcare provider’s office.


of patients want to use technology more for communicating with healthcare providers and managing their conditions


of patients used video conferencing to communicate with their healthcare providers about treatment – for many of them, this was their first-time using video calls for healthcare (70%)


of patients used new devices or apps to help manage conditions remotely during COVID-19

How to reimagine patient engagement

The COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted the patient care paradigm, and the ripple effects have altered patient behaviors and expectations, requiring a significant change in how life sciences companies engage with and support patients.


Build on the momentum of patients embracing virtual care to enhance tools and platforms, improving outcomes and resilience.


Use virtual tools as a regular part of patient care and clinical trials, and learn from patient input and feedback to enhance the patient experience.


Reach patients where they are at, with targeted relevant content that addresses personal health questions.

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