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Virtual Care

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Approximately, 70 percent of all healthcare consumers are interested in receiving a range of health and care services virtually, yet only 20 percent have experienced virtual healthcare.1 As a result, there is a $10 trillion opportunity on the table.

People want to move full speed ahead into the era of virtual care, but the healthcare industry has yet to catch up. The question before the industry is this: Which healthcare organizations will move quickly to take advantage of the opportunity?


1 Accenture 2017 Health Consumer Survey

There is a $10 Trillion opportunity on the table


Temporary triage

There have been two primary responses to consumers' desire for convenient care, both brick and mortar solutions: more retail clinics and urgent care centers. Both are falling short. Urgent care center utilization is dropping, and investment in retail clinics is declining. The Urgent Care Association of America reported that average visits per site dropped from 14,000 to 12,000 between 2014 and 2016.2 Similarly, annual investment in retail clinics shrank from $160 million in 2007 to $29 million in 2016.3

Virtual care offers what consumers really want: a variety of health and care services available to any location at any time, crossing the spectrum from health and wellness to episodic injury and illness to ongoing condition management. Retail clinics and urgent care provide a place for ad-hoc low-acuity care, but not a platform for a full suite of care services.

A new level of convenience and choice

Virtual care also brings convenience and choice to a new level by delivering a wide range of healthcare services to consumers, independent of physical location. Services include tracking health status, reminders to take medication and clinical encounters after hospitalization. An extensive selection of technologies—e.g. remote monitoring via digital devices such as glucometers and pulse oximeters, mobile applications, secure social platforms, secure messaging via email or text, and live video—allow care delivery anytime/anywhere.

Consumers are taking charge

Consumers see themselves as the primary decision-maker for health needs. In fact, 85 percent of consumers see themselves as in charge of their own health and healthcare, deciding when, where and how to receive health and care services. The unique combination of services available through virtual care delivers on these expectations.

2Urgent Care Association of America Benchmarking Report Summary 2016 and 2014;
3 Ibid


Accelerate your path to virtual care services:

Pursue quick wins.

Easier to implement services include eVisits—asynchronous secure-message based encounters between patient and physicians. Virtual mental health services and automated reminders are other options.

Offer a full portfolio of choices.

With foundational services in place, organizations can then establish a range of ambulatory care services including live clinical consultations, remote monitoring and in-home therapies.

Reimagine ambulatory care.

Family and friends are key participants in healthcare. Virtual approaches enable family, friends and other non-clinical caregivers to be part of clinical encounters and support family and friends over time.



Frances Dare

Frances Dare

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Health Strategy


Michael Brombach