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A new survey seems to indicate that it may take a long time—or more resources than you might think—for patients to understand their options for virtual care. Two large health systems rolled out their plans to offer virtual care in Iowa more than a year ago, but most residents still don’t get it. That’s bad news for the plans, but it also means the intended goal of offering virtual care in the first place—namely, slowing down the parade of patients in the emergency room—remains unmet. A lesson in the data for urgent care operators may be that 9.7% of respondents say they “receive urgent care” for relatively minor complaints like earaches and pinkeye in the hospital emergency room. While more than 90% of Iowans in urban areas have access to urgent care within 20 minutes from home, 32% live in rural areas without access to urgent care.

Survey Says Patients May Be Slow to Understand Virtual Care
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