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Intelligence Briefs

Virtual health boom signals massive change: Coviu platfom shoots from 400 to 25,000 daily consults

Industry Contributor

Tim Van Brugge, Head of Digital
Tonic Health Media

2 September 2020 3min read

A series of consumer surveys by Accenture have shown the pandemic has dramatically increased the adoption of virtual health, with the traditional ‘patient journey’ continuing to evolve.

  • A pre-COVID-19 survey conducted in December 2019 indicated digital health adoption was stalling​, driven by privacy concerns and poor user experience
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has forced an ​acceleration in adoption of technology​ for communication and delivery of health services.
  • 90% of users say the new digital experience was as good or better than before.

My Takeout

The accelerated digitisation of the patient journey presents opportunities to connect with and assist people - something that’s never been more important.

If there’s one undeniable consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that people everywhere are taking their health more seriously. Our collective isolation and concerns about the spread of coronavirus are seeing us all embrace digital solutions to problems - and matters of health are no exception.

In March this year, Australian telehealth platform Coviu saw daily consultations ​increase from 400 to 25,000​. As a result of the pandemic, nearly all GPs are able to offer telehealth services and the government has also introduced Medicare funding for such consultations (albeit with some restrictions to ensure the concept of continuity of care can be maintained).

While telehealth is enjoying a period of growth, visitation to the GP’s office remains at high levels, with Medicare data from June indicating face to face consultations numbered almost eight million. In short, people are still seeking the counsel of their trusted family doctor through whatever means is most convenient for them.

That’s why we’re experimenting with strategies to bring GPs closer to consumers researching their symptoms. In an ideal world focused on patient-centric care, if I’m researching symptoms that might require further tests and investigations to properly diagnose, I should also be able to initiate an interaction with my GP immediately.

As the patient journey can now be mapped more digitally, it's important for our industry to be connecting with audiences at multiple touch points along that journey. The combination of our digital platforms and programmatic digital out of home assets in health-focused environments has become an important conduit.

Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic created the tipping point that has driven people to experiment with digital health solutions, it’s now our job to make these interactions as seamless as possible.

With this in mind, we’ve recently launched Chemist2U, a digital platform which enables consumers to order prescriptions and over the counter medications via an app and have those products delivered from local community pharmacies.

We’re rapidly expanding this network across the country and we hope to help millions of Australians get their medications delivered without having to queue up in busy pharmacies.

Today, the majority of us are genuinely considering the broader societal health consequences of our actions. That’s why it’s essential that we endeavour to provide and support expedient and well thought out health solutions however we can.

    Let’s go. What do you think?

    Industry Contributor

    Tim Van Brugge, Head of Digital
    Tonic Health Media

    A self confessed tech addict, Tim van Brugge has been working in digital since 1998. Back then his goal was selling diamond engagement rings. He built a large audience of potential customers by creating Australia’s first online wedding portal. The i-do business, which he sold in 2013, enabled 2500 small businesses to reach 90% of a $4 billion a year industry. Today his more ambitious goal is to help Tonic Health Media improve the health outcomes of all Australians by building out a digital health platform.

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