The Global Health Industries Survey, conducted on behalf of accounting firm PwC Australia, asked people in 10 different countries about their experiences with telemedicine during the pandemic and found that most people had a positive experience and telehealth (phone calls) were the most popular.
Sarah Butler, PwC Australia Health Leader, said, “Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation globally and across all industries, including healthcare, forcing rapid digitisation, increasing demands and expectations from informed and connected consumers.
“We also saw clinicians embracing the shift to virtual care, enabled by funding. Going forward, we have the opportunity to embed this into our healthcare system, with investment in infrastructure, data privacy, cyber security and skills - optimising the mix of virtual and in-person care to ensure equitable access to the right care in the right place at the right time, with more sustainable affordable costs.
Virtual health a viable option
Although it was a global survey, PwC Australia were particularly keen to find out what Australians thought. It discovered that around three quarters of Australian consumers said they are open to interacting with healthcare systems on digital platforms and will continue using virtual health services if they can. Australians aged between 25 and 44 had the highest acceptance with 94 per cent opting to continue using virtual healthcare services in the future.
PwC Australia National Health Consulting Lead Nathan Schlesinger said: “Following the openness to this shift to virtual models of care, there is an opportunity to drive accessibility to and efficiency across healthcare settings while simultaneously improving patient experience by streamlining service delivery.
Healthcare providers and funders should consider those services that are fit for virtual care, encompassing different channels like video, phone and text, so that those services that typically do not require face-to-face consultation are delivered in a way that best matches the channel's capability.”
Most countries, including America, have embraced telehealth during the pandemic with plans to utilise it more in the future.