Executives see industrywide investments on the horizon

As virtual health gains momentum, it is becoming a core component in helping consumers improve or maintain their well-being, as well as playing an increasingly important role in the diagnosis and treatment of illness.

Executive summary

BY the year 2040, empowered consumers, radically interoperable data, and scientific and technological advances will transform the health care system we know today. Virtual health is a key component of our future of health vision. It has the capacity to inform, personalize, accelerate, and augment prevention and care.

In November 2019-January 2020, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions collaborated with the ATA (American Telemedicine Association), to survey and interview health care executives and find out how virtual health is likely to shape the health care landscape over the next two decades. Executives were from hospitals and health systems, health plans, medical device and technology companies, and digital health vendors that are members or partners of the ATA. Their areas of expertise included digital health, strategy, innovation and technology, business development, and medicine.

We found:

  • Fifty percent of executives thought at least a quarter of all outpatient care, preventive care, long-term care, and well-being services would move to virtual delivery by 2040.
  • Three out of four executives predicted that industrywide investments in virtual health would be significantly higher (more than 25 percent) over the next decade than today.
  • Nearly all respondents (94 percent) expect that next-generation data and interoperability solutions will enable widespread data sharing; and 88 percent of executives predicted wearable devices will be integrated with care delivery, resulting in a more tailored, personalized virtual health experience for consumers.
  • About two-thirds of surveyed executives thought that removing regulatory and payment barriers would accelerate virtual health adoption. Only 35 percent thought that new entrants would accelerate it.
  • Executives agreed that addressing the challenges around the drivers of health (also known as social determinants) would not be easy. Almost 75 percent of respondents expect the challenges related to the drivers of health will remain in the coming decades, regardless of a virtual-first system that could expand access to care.

Our research shows that virtual health is changing the industry landscape, and traditional health care business models will likely need to evolve to stay competitive and win over consumers and patients.

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