House calls—the historic healthcare delivery approach—taught physicians much about a patient without having to ask even a single question. Over the last century, we centralized healthcare into clinics and hospitals to share “on-call” duties and leverage investments in expensive diagnostic equipment. Along the way, physicians lost a lot of context and information, and patients drove many miles for far-too-infrequent interactions. We all shared a lot of germs and care costs skyrocketed to cover those waiting rooms, drop-ceiling exam rooms and on-site labs.
But now, with pervasive connectivity and new digital tools, care is decentralizing again. The COVID-19-fueled culture of virtual care provides a new urgency and expectation to see and care for the whole patient, wherever they happen to be. We see this trend accelerating with massive investment from the venture community, payors and provider groups. As a result, the way we “do healthcare” will never be the same.