Virtual Care

Virtual Care

How Does Virtual Care Improve Healthcare Delivery?

Whilst the world moves on from Covid-19, what is clear is that its impact on global healthcare provision will be felt for many years to come. Despite startling waiting list figures from the NHS, however, it is also useful to note how quickly the health service has adapted its service and delivery in order to cope with the pandemic and its aftermath. This is thanks, in large part, to their rapid adoption of a technology which was waiting to happen – virtual care.

As is often the case, what started out as a necessity, is fast becoming a source of innovation and creativity for the NHS:

  • Image sharing technology is now used by geographically remote clinicians to share their specialist knowledge when dealing with difficult patient cases.
  • NHS England is launching the virtual wards programme to support patients who would otherwise be in hospital to receive acute care, monitoring, and treatment remotely.
  • Ambulances caught up in a queueing system are being adapted as mobile A&E facilities, as paramedics are now able to access critical care expertise instantly.
  • The reduction of travelling to and from surgeries and hospitals is being seen as a significant cut in carbon emissions as the NHS continues to work towards Net Zero.

Are Patients Ready for an Expansion of Virtual Care?

“I feel that as long as face to face consultations can still take place where needed and necessary, a virtual health service would be beneficial for both patients and doctors.”

– UK NHS patient

Patients too have been adapting to a new healthcare landscape over the past two years. For the majority, virtual care has allowed them to maintain contact with a GP throughout lockdown periods and continues to alleviate pressures on GP surgeries as they deal with the post-Covid backlog.

However, the move to a more comprehensively remote experience of healthcare has still to be trialled at scale. Where remote pathways have already been trialled, there is optimism that they can be scaled successfully:

“We’ve put in place a maternity pathway onto our covid pathway; we’ve tried it with COPD patients; we have established a really successful asthma pathway.”

“We’ve had about 300 asthma patients onboarded onto that pathway, allowing them to be either not admitted or discharged early. And by doing that we’ve cut our asthma bed days by at least 30 per cent.”

Fiona McCann, respiratory consultant and clinical lead for respiratory medicine.

Doccla UK provides the monitoring technology patients use in their own homes, and the online dashboard which allows clinicians to monitor their virtual patients. Clinicians working in this way note that the system allows them to respond quickly to patients should there be a need. And patients will most likely appreciate a reduction in the number of face-to-face appointments necessary for their care.

“I feel like half my life is either making or rescheduling appointment due to a chronic illness, so a virtual system would make my life a lot easier. The changes so far have been massively better and virtualising makes it more accessible and it saves time and money. It stops me having to drive for 2 hours for a 15m appointment and then take time out of my working day.”

– UK NHS patient

Preparing for a Healthcare Transformation

There is widespread awareness in the UK, amongst HCPs and NHS users, that the old model of the healthcare system is no longer fit for purpose. The scaling of virtual care could alleviate the scarcity of hospital beds, improve care for chronically ill patients, and enhance services for patients who cannot easily attend in-person appointments. There are, however, a number of important considerations.

The Role That Medical Market Research Has to Play

As health systems move online patients’ ability to adopt new technologies, and accept their efficacy, will be key. In the past LDA Research has helped to test medical devices, and convened focus groups for patients to discuss specific medical treatments. The feedback this kind of qualitative research produces is likely to provide important information for design and deployment of virtual software.

About LDA Research

LDA Research was set up by Lucy Doorbar in 2011. LDA’s core team of researchers and moderators works with a global network of trusted associates. We provide quantitative research for medical and pharmaceutical clients, medical comms agencies, health market research agencies, management consultants and advertising agencies.

If you’re interested in working with LDA Research, give us a call to find out more about what we do – 01525 861436

medical device market research

Medical Device Market Research

LDA Research was set up in 2011, in Bedfordshire, and for the past 7 years the core team has been pursuing their passion globally. We’re lucky enough to spend our time providing specialist qualitative research for the rapidly growing medical device sector. Every member of the team is committed to providing high quality, bespoke market research solutions for management consultants, design agencies, advertising companies, medical clients and health market research agencies.

Why Use Qualitative Research?

Qualitative medical device marketing research depends upon person-to-person interaction as a means of garnering opinions, motivations, ideas and themes active in the target group for any new medical device. It’s a highly effective methodology for understanding customer satisfaction, sector pricing intelligence, market attractiveness, innovation assessment and perceived use value.

We pride ourselves on the responsive nature of our research methodology, and on our ability – as a team – to tailor our research to the business needs of our clients. That may mean accessing hard-to-reach patients, incorporating tech in innovative ways or moving beyond our database to reach out to participants in regions, or countries that we haven’t worked with before. As a research team we love a challenge, and we keep going until we get what our clients need!

Quantitative Medical Device Market Research for Development

Clients often ask us to find out for them where the greatest unmet needs are in a particular area. This may feed into an R&D process, or it may be at the stage of fine tuning of a device which has already been developed. Dependent on the research aims, we would normally seek to conduct phone, web conferencing, or face-to-face interviews with healthcare professionals, and thought leaders operating within the appropriate professional environment.

Qualitative Research for Usability Testing

Regulation (EU) 2017/745 has raised the European bar for the usability testing of medical devices. We are, therefore, seeing a heightened demand from our clients for device simulations. Being able to see how patients interact with a new product or device provides valuable information to developers and marketers. The ensuing report will often lead to an understanding of training requirements, or refinements needed in the way the device is packaged or presented for use.

Qualitative Patient Focused Research

We have a great track record for pulling together patient focus groups either as online forums, or – if the geographical dispersion is local, or national – as part of a workshop. This methodology is particularly useful where a training need has been identified and the training programme has been designed. Patients will often point out crucial issues that have been overlooked by developers, or use their first hand experience to provide solutions to challenges that have been bugging the development team.

Post Launch Qualitative Research

We can help with the entire product lifecycle, providing accurate, authentic medical market research. Once a device is launched, we are often asked to carry out ‘follow-on’ research with patients using it. We’re always particularly interested in the data provided by people who have ceased to use the product, or those who are aware of the product but have not yet decided to adopt it.

Skilled Moderators are Key to Effective Medical Device Market Research

The skill of the researcher is always paramount to achieving effective result in ethnographic qualitative research. We take care to recruit moderators and interviewers who have a background in either medical research or specialist healthcare. This professional expertise allows them to ask detailed – and at times – probing questions of clients. Granular responses help developers understand to what degree their product is supporting the patient and fulfilling the needs of the market.