Benefits professionals understandthat increasing pressures to improve access while containing costs,combined with advancements in data and medical technologies,continue to drive the evolution of the health care industry. Thoughthe jury is still out on the long-term impact of many technologies,one on which all parties agree is including virtual care as part ofany comprehensive health care program.

Given that, it's crucial to have a clear picture of the manyways virtual care will likely continue itstransformation of health care delivery in 2020:

  1. Virtual care becomes a top priority for large employersand health systems

The importance of virtual care is increasing for nearly all plans, and the majority are offering or consideringservices. Building off the virtual care programs almost all largeemployers currently offer, 51 percent  say that expanding virtualcare options to their employees is a top priority in 2020.Sixty-four percent of U.S. hospitals and health systems now offerconsumer virtual care programs, and an additional 24 percent planto provide consumer telemedicine by year's end.

  1. Consumers will increasingly demand integrated,personalized care on their terms.

Thanks to digital and "big data" technologies built aroundgaining consumer insights and customization, choice abounds interms of where individuals turn to access products and services. Asa result, both plan sponsors and consumers increasingly expectpersonalization and demand more control when it comes to qualityhealth care, as well. Virtual care enables people to get the righttreatment at the right time for resolution of their needs. As aresult, utilization and advocacy are accelerating.

For plan or benefits administrators facing pushback fromleadership or employees, a good selling point for virtual care isthat customer satisfaction among users of telehealth services ranksamong the highest of any consumer category, according toJ.D. Power.

  1. Virtual care will help close the access gap for mentalhealth care

Mental illness, particularly anxiety and depression, is theleading chronic condition today. It affects more Americans thancardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases, anddiabetes.

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