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The Rise of Telemedicine: How COVID-19 is Fundamentally Changing the Way Consumers Seek Care

The Rise of Telemedicine: How COVID-19 is Fundamentally Changing the Way Consumers Seek Care

COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of society—the health and well being of our communities, our collective levels of anxiety, the rhythms of our personal lives, and of course, the way we work. Every industry is being impacted and in many cases, the only thing that seems clear is that it will look very different on the other side of COVID-19.

At Solv, one dramatic shift that we are seeing first hand is the rapid acceleration of telemedicine adoption. We’ve seen unprecedented change in just three weeks—from both patients and providers—that would have previously seemed impossible. And it’s driven by consumers seeking medical care from home as their first choice, providers shifting rapidly to meet the demand, payers creating reimbursement structures, and government adapting regulations to support it all.

Nearly our entire team at Solv is focused on supporting providers and consumers through the COVID-19 crisis, and specifically to enable care through telemedicine at this moment. It’s been incredible to observe and be a part of this widespread adoption.

Telemedicine has emerged as the primary source for care–video visits on Solv grew 3400% over the past month

Today, 1 in 4 Americans are being instructed to shelter in place, and the CDC recommends that everyone uses telemedicine whenever possible. At Solv, consumer telemedicine usage is up nearly 3400% in one month. Providers are rapidly responding to this shift—the number of daily active telemedicine providers on Solv has increased by 2425% in the last 30 days and we have more than double the current number going live in the next week.

It’s been humbling to watch as our partners across the country shift their workflows and motions daily to adjust to the new reality. Things like using telemedicine to assess for drive through COVID-19 testing, so anxious patients don’t risk exposure only to get turned away. We’ve seen urgent care clinics adopt telemedicine in the unfortunate cases where their providers become infected, and in situations where they are able, to treat patients from isolation.

Walk-in visits are in significant decline. Online bookings in slight decline. Telemedicine significantly up.

Not surprisingly, in-person visits to urgent care clinics are on a steep decline across the country. Our data shows that walk-in patient traffic has declined 57% over the last month, while the number of patients who schedule their visit ahead of time has declined slightly less, down 18%. While the visit volume of telemedicine has not made up for this significant decline, we are seeing that one in five users that used telemedicine this past month had previously used Solv for an in-person urgent care visit.

It remains to be seen if this dramatic shift from in-person to telemedicine is a temporary shift or if the ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak will have a lasting impact on how various types of care is delivered. I think it will be the latter. In this moment, consumers are experiencing telemedicine and discovering the ease by which they can receive quality care; providers are overcoming their concerns; and payers are aligning telemedicine reimbursement so that physicians can actually get compensated for the work that they do. Given the acceleration of telemedicine in this moment, this shift will take hold and fundamentally transform healthcare for all of us.

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