The pandemic gave patients more power than ever before, and millions of people are now taking charge of their health.
For big companies, technology can help bridge surging new demands for primary and specialty care.
Leaders from Salesforce, Zoom, and Best Buy recently shared seismic shifts in health care, and the technology they’re deploying to help, with Fortune CEO Alan Murray at the Brainstorm Health conference.
The leaders discussed how their companies are using data to change health care.
Adoption of virtual care is driving successful outcomes for many patients, said Dr. Fatima Paruk, Senior Vice President and Chief Healthcare Officer at Salesforce.
Viewing patients as consumers with preferences, options, and needs has revolutionized retail, financial services, and now health care, she said.
With more access to health care through virtual sessions, patients want care on-demand “whenever, wherever or however,” she says.
Increased telehealth access also benefited some rural populations which historically had less access to primary and specialty care.
“We have been able to overcome that a significant portion of our population lacks access to primary care,” she said.
Paruk predicts that the future will be more focused on increasing telehealth equity and access. Increased access also means more trust between patients and providers, she said.
With this new shift, providers now “need virtual strategies so that they are making sure that patients are coming in through their digital front doors” which improves patient acquisition, and helps hospitals and providers stay in business.
Ron Emerson, Global Healthcare Lead for Zoom video communications, shared that his company saw an increase in users with the pandemic, and the platform started serving multiple purposes.
Doctor visits over Zoom became popular, in a phenomenon the company hadn’t preciously seen. As a result, the company began asking more questions about strategy.
“What does the future look like, and how do we engage with our health care system?” Emerson asked.
Many now people think that the future will be more digital, and your first interaction with your provider will be digital, he said.
Zoom conducted a study to see which modality people preferred and found that “61% of people said they wanted to continue to have a hybrid model of care, 34% said they just wanted in person, and 4% said they just wanted video only.”
The biggest opportunity of telehealth is that a patient no longer needs to be located where their health care provider is to receive treatment. Zoom has enabled both patients and providers to break down the barriers of the past.
Best Buy is now focused on leaning into the adoption of telehealth and helping customers set up for success, said Diana Gelston, Vice President, Virtual Care Sales, Marketing and Client Success.
Gelston said the company wants to “enable people at home to be really successful with technology.”
She said she hopes efforts like this will mean more people are comfortable seeing a doctor virtually.
Gelston gave a personal example of her mother, who is 80 years old and feels comfortable living alone because she has the option of seeing a doctor online. She worked with Best Buy’s Geek Squad, a team of employees who help customers set up and use her devices.
As a result, she is comfortable using her devices.
“I always start with a patient journey when I think about any future-looking or forward-looking advance in health care specifically.” shared Diana.
Adopting the mentality that patients are consumers helps the company understand the intersection of care and technology better.
Best Buy has been in the health care business for around four years and currently has over 1.5 million users engaging with its products there, about 20% of the market. Now, the company expects a rapid surge in demand.
Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.