Since the pandemic, hybrid health care, telehealth and digital care are buzzwords. But what is hybrid care exactly? Is it all about having a so-called ‘digital frontdoor’? Some explanation here.
Think about a hybrid car: it has more than one power resource. It combines a conventional diesel or petrol engine with an electric motor to power a car. You can understand hybrid care in the same way: it will combine physical and virtual care delivery to patients. And it will serve as a power resource for healthcare providers: to keep close contact with many patients and and deliver good care.
Virtual and hybrid care are not the same
Of course, hybrid care is linked to telemedicine and virtual care, but they are not the same.
Telemedicine specifically refers to ‘the treatment of medical problems without physically seeing the patient’. Telemedicine uses platforms such as video consultations, telephony, text messages and apps. It is often applied in the follow-up of chronic conditions. Telemedicine can also be useful in providing advice on possible referrals to specialised help, for example for more complex problems.
Virtual care is about all different ways in which a healthcare provider can interact with his/her patient at a distance. Virtual care uses real-time data to a greater extent: on vital parameters, generated by biosensors or wearables in a postoperative setting. In addition to ‘classic’ telemedicine tools,virtual care also includes other digital services such as a digital appointment planner, the implementation of transmural care pathways or setting up multidisciplinary consultations.
Hybrid care is a combination of virtual care and in-person contact. Hybrid care aims to combine the best of both worlds. It is possible to decide on an individual basis whether a patient can be helped virtually or via a physical contact.
So hybrid care combines physical services with a whole set of digital interactions and technology to engage with patients. It’s a spectrum of physical and digital services, tailor made for a specific situation or person.
Read more about the current hybrid care-debate here.
Where is it a perfect fit? We have explored 3 segments:
- GP practice
- maternity care
- the hybrid hospital