Designing Better Virtual Visits

Originally posted on the Emmi Patient Engagement Blog:

For example, patients often forget what they learn from their doctor, with no way to easily ask questions at a later time. By exploring this deficit further, and interviewing patients about the challenges they face when they don’t have easy access to their doctor, we can challenge the ways digital experiences can supplement or solve these communication pitfalls. We can build solutions to solve many of the issues that couldn’t have been addressed on a large scale before. Long wait times, accessibility issues for patients getting to the office, and ways to view live clips of your doctor’s recommendations for a later time are all new unprecedented capabilities to be explored.

Additionally, providers spend a great deal of time dealing with patients who often have minor issues that can be solved at a quick glance. Now that we’ve established that these visits cost less, how might this interactivity in care allow patients to take a more active role in their health? How might patients find it easier to manage and keep track of their conditions once their diagnoses are digitized?

These types of questions are essential when building these new virtual offerings, so that we can be sure we’re designing solutions that are intuitive, trustworthy, and will be readily adopted by the public.

Moving Forward

Studies like these, while small, show that a gap between current patient demand and provider offerings is widening. While we have the money and resources to create cost-effective and efficient solutions, if patients aren’t comfortable or excited about these products then no lasting solution will have been found.

By harnessing the potential of digital tools and looking forward at the ways we can solve problems in new ways, we can better understand how patients can benefit from these digital tools. Moving forward, understanding human behaviors and motivations will be essential to designing virtual visit tools that will be well liked and utilized by the public. Studies like this one are important to replicate often and with many different demographics - the more we can understand why patients are uncomfortable with the digital experience, we can better harness its capabilities for shifting the way we think about in-office healthcare today.