Virtual health

Bringing the digital and the personal together in health

Virtual health is here to stay and set to scale.  The COVID-19 pandemic, changing societal expectations and technological innovation have been catalysts driving the health system’s evolution to enable the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led healthcare providers, payers and consumers to rapidly accelerate the uptake of virtual health. Out of necessity, there has been a shift in consumer and provider attitudes to receiving some forms of healthcare virtually. This is just the start in a long chain of opportunities and improvements that virtual care can bring to the Australian health system.

Addressing systemic challenges

Virtual health presents multiple opportunities and challenges to the providers, consumers and funders of healthcare services. The challenges each faces are interrelated and at times complex.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed the power of embracing the change to telehealth as a collective across payors, consumers and providers. We must now look beyond this foundational level of virtual health services to leading and innovative virtual care practices which can deliver health improvements through working together.

What are key considerations for stakeholders in the virtual health ecosystem?

Funders

Funding model design

  • How can the Australian funding model be updated to support the adoption of virtual health models in primary, community and tertiary care settings? How can this be designed to improve care continuity?   

  • How can data and analytics ensure appropriate use of virtual health billing codes?

Measuring outcomes

  • What outcome measures should be used to evaluate effectiveness, access, equity and efficiency of virtual health models?

  • What is the most appropriate way to incentivise outcomes (versus activity) in virtual health?

Providers

Strategy

  • How can your organisation build upon and scale virtual health capabilities that worked well during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • Which of your strategic partners can help you to be disruptive rather than disrupted?

  • What is your level of ambition for providing virtual care, your vision, goals and priorities?

  • What care does your organisation currently provide? What capabilities does this give you?

  • What care should be provided in person? What is the appropriate mix between bricks and pixels?

Models of care

  • What healthcare can be delivered through a virtual channel to ensure right care, right time at the right place?

  • How can you implement virtual health technologies without sacrificing the quality of the care?

  • Which governance structures will help your organisation integrate new virtual-health capabilities and manage operations as you scale?

  • Does shared governance and accountability drive operational performance of new, virtual models?

  • Are there clear workflows for care that is delivered virtually?

  • What are the professional, regulatory and accreditation standards that must be adhered to?

Evaluation 

  • Is there a monitoring and evaluation framework to evaluate effectiveness, access, equity and efficiency of virtual health models?

Technology

  • What technology do you need to use to deliver care virtually?

  • What are the interoperability considerations with current systems and key care stakeholders?

  • What are the standards for identity, capturing consent, data and privacy concerns?

Workforce

  • How can your organisation enable and empower healthcare providers to deliver care virtually?

  • How does your organisation resource a virtual care model?

  • What are the medico-legal considerations for virtual health in your organisation?

Consumers

  • What population cohorts should be targeted for virtual care services?
  • What role does the consumer play in deciding how their care should be delivered?

  • How do you empower your consumers to be virtual patients? What communications and training do you need to provide?

Consumers

  • What are Australian’s expectations around virtual health? 

  • How do you ensure virtual health is designed to meet consumer needs? 

  • What education and training do people require to be empowered virtual health consumers? 

  • What are the considerations around identifying authentication and data and privacy concerns?

Virtual health in 2020 - changes in care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

In December 2020, we brought together Australian and American virtual health experts to discuss their virtual health experiences, opportunities and challenges in 2020. See highlights from our webinar, where they identified the need for robust strategies and evaluation, technological and operational models, and the need for more knowledge sharing globally to support the scaling up of virtual care.

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How we can help

PwC is a trusted advisor helping Australian health organisations adapt to the virtual world. Our team of health specialists bring a depth of understanding in data and analytics to help you decide what care to offer and how to measure outcomes; health economics to assess funding structures/models; digital to develop experiences and health policy to design interventions. We have a solid foundation in delivering effective digital customer experiences and an ability to articulate and measure the value of virtual care. We understand the complexity of the virtual health landscape and a vision for the opportunities it opens up our health, care and wellbeing sectors.

 

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Contact us

India Hardy

Partner, Virtual Health Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 424 203 669

Dean Dimkin

Partner, Technology Consulting Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 7 3257 5088

John Forsythe

Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 7 3257 5157

Emily Prior

Partner, National Health Analytics Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 0698

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