Blog: Why Click-and-Mortar is the Future of Healthcare

As healthcare delivery methods continue to evolve in the post COVID-19 climate, providers are well accustomed to delivering virtual care to their patients. Since the pandemic began and forced clinicians and patients to interact remotely, nearly all providers and most patients in need have experienced care delivery via telemedicine. To manage the demand, virtual care platforms for non-emergent primary care, mental health, remote patient monitoring, and others emerged to connect caregivers in more frequent and routine ways. Over this time, many providers found their patients preferred this type of less formal interaction, so much so that they requested to transition completely to online care.

Despite the surge in interest and preference for virtual care, the need for in person care is still significant for many patients with acute injuries, and others with specific types of chronic medical conditions. In many cases, these require a comprehensive physical examination, imaging or similar diagnostic testing, and procedures like an injection or surgery that cannot be completed from the comfort of home. Additionally, younger generations have expressed a desire to develop a meaningful connection with their provider, and as such prefer the personal touch and confidentiality of a brick-and-mortar office visit. Undoubtedly, many providers believe this preference has developed based on the growing prevalence of anxiety and depression among Gen Z.

While the established benefits of virtual first care has become more obvious in recent years, there are some aspects of care delivery that it cannot replace, and others that society does not want it to. As a result, many believe the best solution is a hybrid approach to care that blends the modern convenience and ease of virtual care with the necessary requirements of traditional medical services. Identifying the use cases where virtual care can thrive (i.e., Dermatology) and can be facilitated through a series of brief online interactions can boost provider efficiency, while conversely, those delivered in person limit the potential for overprescribing or misdiagnosis (i.e., Emergency Rooms). This approach, coined as click-and-mortar, is believed to be more aligned to delivering better, more individualized care.

Specifically, how will click-and-mortar shape the future of healthcare?

Options, Options, and More Options

With providers transitioning to offering both virtual and in person care, the patient has more choices than ever before. This is significant at a time when many patients are taking ownership of their own health through wearable technologies and smartphone applications. Where is the most convenient location? Is it 24/7 care? Do they specialize? If patients don’t get exactly what they want from a particular provider, they are more motivated than ever to look somewhere else to find it.

 Price Transparency

Due to the many options that patients have today, they can be incredibly more selective. In response, healthcare clinics are taking additional steps to compete on price for various routine services, going so far in some cases as to publish the price lists for routine clinical services. This empowers patients to identify the best solution that works for their financial situation, and to know exactly what they will receive in return.

 Culturally Appropriate Care

Providing options for patients allows underrepresented populations to identify providers that are most likely to understand the unique needs of their identity. This is especially important to Gen Z, where over 50% of the population is represented by ethnic or racial minorities. The same can be said for gender and sexual orientation, where there are clear preferences about the qualities being prioritized in the search for a healthcare provider.

 Better Clinical Outcomes

By creating an omni channel approach to service delivery, healthcare organizations and providers can provide more proactive, engaging care that triages patients according to their unique needs at any given time. In turn patients receive what they want in a flexible, cost effective and enjoyable healthcare experience. This win-win scenario drives provider effectiveness, patient compliance and satisfaction, leading to improved outcomes.