Researchers define virtual health as continuous, connected care delivered using digital and telecommunication technologies. Healthcare consumers can think of virtual health as telemedicine and video doctor visits, remote patient monitoring, asynchronous communication, medication adherence and provider-facing solutions such as virtual consults and second opinions.

To consider the future impact of virtual health, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions surveyed clinicians and healthcare executives, with most agreeing that a fourth or more of all outpatient, preventive and long-term care will move to virtual delivery over the next 20 years. Physicians expect to be spending more time in face-to-face interactions with their patients as virtual assistants handle appointment scheduling, prescription orders and transfer of clinician notes into electronic medical records. Nearly 75 percent of respondents see improved clinical outcomes resulting from home-based monitoring and faster, easier access to health plan information helping members and providers alike. Finally, patients can expect virtual physician visits to save them valuable time compared to physical office visits.