Virtual hospital: key features, examples,
and benefits of remote care

Virtual hospital: key features, examples, and benefits of remote care

May 30, 2023

Virtual hospital market statistics

of US healthcare providers enabled virtual visits in 2021

Statista

the CAGR of the global virtual care market from 2022-2027

Mordor Intelligence

projected US virtual care market revenue in 2030

Grand View Research

Virtual hospital architecture

A virtual hospital should work seamlessly with no bottlenecks or sudden outages, just like a typical healthcare facility. Logically, it consists of three major blocks: a patient side, a provider app, and a cloud server.

Patient side
Patient app
Smart connected devices
PHI (demographics, insurance, medical history, vitals)
Cloud server
Video streaming server (for messaging & video calls)
Data storage and processing
Billing/payment module
Virtual appointments scheduling
Hospital side
Care team app
Medical imaging software
Analytics (reports, KPI, stats)
Admin panel
Practice management system
E-prescribing
EHR
Laboratory software

Patient app

An app for patients enabling them to schedule and attend virtual consultations, message doctors about their symptoms, view treatment plans, and request medication refills.

Hospital app

An app for a virtual hospital care team (nurses and doctors), enabling them to consult patients online, evaluate patients’ tests and diagnostic procedures’ results, and manage treatment and medications.

Streaming server

A real-time video streaming tool for smooth audiovisual communication between patients and the virtual hospital care staff.

Data storage and processing module

A cloud-based tool for hosting PHI and consultation recordings and analyzing patients’ information, such as device-generated data and treatment plans.

Admin panel

A dashboard for virtual hospital’s IT specialists where they can grant users’ access to the virtual hospital toolset and enable hospital employees to view patient lists.

Get started with virtual hospital implementation

As a healthcare development company, Itransition delivers expert services that help ensure successful remote care provision for your medical facility. Our team offers:

Virtual hospital consulting

Our health IT developers and tech experts are ready to study your healthcare facility’s specifics and offer the best-suited virtual hospital structure and tools that will help meet your business needs and ensure efficient work.

Virtual hospital implementation

Our specialists will design and implement regulation-compliant solutions for optimal virtual hospital operation. In addition, we will ensure smooth virtual hospital integration into the existing digital infrastructure and deliver professional post-implementation support.

Main functionality of a virtual hospital

A virtual hospital is a complex healthcare system that covers patients’ care needs from any preferred location. The main virtual hospital functionality for delivering effective remote care services includes:

Main functionality of a virtual hospital
  • Conducting regular check-ins and scheduled consultations with patients via telemedicine tools
  • Delivering on-demand clarification consultations via messages or video calls
  • Calling a local ambulance team in an emergency
  • Requesting refills and drug delivery (for patients)
  • Creating and editing treatment plans
  • Scheduling lab tests and diagnostic procedures
  • Scheduling consultations with specialty doctors
  • Monitoring the patient’s health state over time
  • Making treatment adjustments
  • Examining patients’ health state through dashboards with real-time data
  • Identifying symptoms and patterns in patients’ conditions with an AI-powered tool
  • Optimizing treatment plans based on AI recommendations
  • Notifying healthcare specialists of patients’ abnormal health parameters
  • Expenses analytics, automatically calculating and reporting the cost and time spent on each patient
  • Adding and editing personal health data in the patient profile
  • Uploading medical records, lab and diagnostic results from other providers
  • Accessing care plans that encompass treatment plans and appointment reports
  • Logging new emerging symptoms and medications taken
  • Auditing the activity in systems containing or using electronic protected health information
  • Accessing personalized in-app patient education modules
  • Consulting AI-powered chatbots for chronic condition patients
  • Activating improved accessibility functions (voice control, a text-to-speech feature)
  • Activating the larger font option
  • Viewing insurance plans coverage, care bills for consultations, tests, etc.
  • Accessing benefit explanations
  • Paying bills online via a secure payment gateway
  • Enabling multi-factor authentication for patients and medical staff
  • Providing end-to-end data encryption for patients’ health information
  • Allowing role-based access to patient data
  • Providing secure data storage and patient-provider data transmission
  • Ensuring compliance with the healthcare industry regulations

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Types of virtual hospital services and treatment

A virtual hospital is a full-scale hospital with no physical location, meaning a patient can’t submit analyses or have surgery or other interventions in such a facility. On the other hand, such a hospital can offer a range of online consultations, allowing patients to contact doctors from any location. Here are several popular types of virtual hospitals and remote care options:

A general hospital

This type of facility works as a full-scale remote hospital, allowing patients to book an e-visit with a specialist doctor without waiting long for the appointment. In the US, wait time is one of the significant pain points accountable for patients’ health deterioration. According to the OECD report on health policies in the selected countries, 27% of US patients wait for their specialty appointment for over a month.

In such situations, telemedicine solutions can be a viable alternative, as they reduce the wait time and expenses for travel.

Scheme title: Healthcare wait times by country 2023
Data source: World Population Review — OECD report

Real-life virtual hospital examples

Mercy has been operating in St. Louis, Missouri, since 2015. It is a bright example of a virtual hospital for rural dwellers living far from healthcare facilities. Mercy’s goal was to reduce the time patients needed to meet their healthcare providers and eliminate the need for sick patients to visit hospitals frequently. With expert teams working alongside local caregivers providing skillful monitoring and management, the hospital manages to prevent many health incidents.

We started with a small pilot of 50 patients in Washington, Missouri. In a few months, we began to see decreases in hospital utilization, patient satisfaction scores at 98% favorable and closing of gaps in care.

Annie Banister, RN

Annie Banister, RN

Executive Director of vEngagement at Mercy

Virtual hospital integrations

A virtual hospital comprises a set of electronic systems that should work in harmony to ensure the healthcare facility works stably. Hence, virtual hospital solutions require smooth integration with other systems:
Key integration options
Patient-centered IoMT devices
EHR/EMR
Practice management system
Medical imaging and lab software

These smart tools allow patients to manage their health at home, track their vitals, and share the data with their clinicians.

An EHR system is a go-to tool for a care team, providing comprehensive data on patients’ medical history, allergies, chronic conditions, contact data, etc.

Integration with the system streamlines and simplifies appointment scheduling and patient billing data tracking.

This integration allows a care team to analyze radiology scans and lab test results quickly and adjust further treatment accordingly.

Benefits of a virtual hospital

Mitigated clinician shortage

The number of doctors and mid-level healthcare workers is decreasing. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects the shortage will reach between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034. A virtual hospital can become an efficient solution for preventing the lack of clinicians. Virtual care enables clinicians to accept more patients regardless of their location. 

Improved patient experience

A virtual hospital allows patients to get medical consultations and treatment from their homes or any preferred location. As a result, it reduces the overall stress and burden of visiting a hospital and lowers the cost of services. According to a 2021 Statista study, most patients described their e-visits as great (47% of participants) or OK (46%).

Enhanced cost-effectiveness

Virtual hospitals can help reduce care costs for both providers and patients. For example, patients don’t have to travel to a facility and can save on trip fares. Besides, virtual appointments cost less than in-person visits. As for providers, virtual hospitals help them reduce the rate of unnecessary hospitalizations and readmissions. 

Augmented hospital capacity

Patients usually remain in the hospital for post-recovery follow-ups. While such inpatients take up hospital beds and other resources, a hospital can’t accept other critically ill patients. A virtual hospital enables healthcare providers to safely send recovering patients home and organize virtual follow-ups with their assigned clinicians. Meanwhile, the provider can hospitalize more patients in need of urgent care.

Three challenges of virtual hospital implementation

Challenge

Solutions

Patients can have insufficient digital literacy, which complicates virtual hospital access and use.

Challenge

Digital divide for patients

Challenge

Solutions

Working on your virtual hospital, create an intuitive, user-friendly patient app with a simple user experience. Besides, your software vendor can help you develop an informative user guide with screenshots and clarifications.

Clinicians need help getting used to digital tools and the specifics of virtual appointments. For some, a new care model can bring additional stress and burnout.

Challenge

Resistance to change among doctors

Challenge

Solutions

To reduce the resistance, inform your staff about the virtual care model in advance. You can stress the benefits of virtual care for clinicians, including reduced readmissions and resource optimization.

Cybercriminals continue wreaking havoc in the industry, attacking healthcare organizations. Consequently, patients feel unsafe about engaging in virtual care.

Challenge

Personal data security

Challenge

Solutions

A quality solution is backed by experts’ knowledge and skills. It complies with HIPAA and other regulations, ensuring PHI security. Cybersecurity consultants examine the solution to detect and fix vulnerabilities before the launch to prevent attacks.

Expand your healthcare service with remote care

Expand your healthcare service with remote care

With the spread of digital technologies in healthcare, providers have obtained the opportunity to expand their services and reduce healthcare access disparities, providing due care to more patients in need. Virtual hospitals proved efficient during the pandemic, and remote access to quality medical services remains critical for many patients today. Hence, engaging in virtual hospital development is a valuable effort. Connect with a reputable vendor to create a full-scale virtual hospital system and seamlessly integrate it into your medical infrastructure.

Expand your healthcare service with remote care

Launch a top-scale virtual hospital with Itransition

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FAQs

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