Are there any potential risks with providing health services virtually?

So, let’s discuss the potential risks with providing health services virtually; like telehealth.

From a clinical perspective, there are two main risks that I see in delivering health services virtually:
  • Using the platform as a substitute for the same type of care you would deliver in person at the clinic.
  • Discounting the importance of human-to-human contact and sometimes in-person services.
It all boils down to understanding that it’s not an “either-or” situation – it should be a hybrid model.
Virtual service delivery can provide continuity of care and ensure constant access between patients & clinicians – filling gaps often seen in traditional models. Instead of using virtual service delivery as merely a substitute for coming into the clinic, we should strive to create a hybridized model of care.
In this model, we combine both in-clinic work (assessments & consultations) with back-end support such as patient compliance monitoring or secure messaging for questions.
The goal is not to replace in-person care but rather use all available tools to deliver an enhanced patient experience with more touch points and better access – ultimately improving long-term clinical outcomes.

Potential Risks with Providing Health Services Virtually

As our world becomes increasingly digital, virtual health services are becoming more and more popular. Telehealth platforms provide an opportunity for patients to receive care from the comfort of their own homes, without having to travel to a doctor’s office or hospital. While these services offer many benefits, there are also potential risks associated with providing health care virtually. In this blog post, we will be discussing two main risks that may affect clinical service delivery, patient experience and clinical outcomes when using telehealth platforms as a substitute for in-person care.


Risk #1: Using Telehealth as a Substitute for In-Clinic Care

The first risk associated with virtual service delivery is using telehealth as a direct substitute for in-clinic care. It’s essential not to view virtual services simply as an alternative method of delivering the same type of care you would get at your doctor’s office or hospital. Instead, it should be seen as part of a hybrid model that combines both in-person and online interactions between clinicians and patients.

This approach ensures continuity of care throughout the entire patient journey; rather than having isolated episodes where patients visit their healthcare provider every few months (or even years) without any follow-up or support during those gaps between appointments. By integrating virtual services into regular healthcare routines – such as remote monitoring after surgery or answering questions via secure messaging systems – providers can maintain contact with their patients while offering additional avenues through which they can access information about treatment progress.


Risk #2: Discounting the Importance of Human-to-Human Contact

The second risk connected with delivering health services virtually involves discounting the importance of human-to-human interaction during medical consultations – particularly regarding physical examinations or other procedures that require close contact between the patient and clinician. While telehealth certainly offers a convenient way to communicate with healthcare providers, it cannot fully replace the experience of receiving care in person.

It’s crucial not to underestimate the value of face-to-face communication when discussing sensitive health concerns or undergoing specific treatments – such as therapy sessions for mental health issues. In some cases, in-person visits may be necessary to ensure accurate diagnoses and effective treatment plans are developed based on thorough physical examinations or assessments.


Finding a Balance: The Hybrid Model

Rather than viewing virtual service delivery as an either-or proposition against traditional in-clinic care, we should consider how these methods can work together to form a hybrid model that benefits both patients and clinicians alike. This approach allows patients access to their healthcare provider without needing physically visit their doctor’s office repeatedly while still ensuring continuity throughout their entire medical journey.

By utilizing various tools available through virtual service platforms – such as video conferencing, secure messaging systems, remote monitoring devices – we can create more touchpoints between clinicians and patients during times they don’t need an in-person consultation. At its core this is about improving clinical outcomes by offering better support over time rather than replacing one mode of interaction completely with another.



The potential risks associated with providing health services virtually primarily involve using telehealth platforms as direct substitutes for traditional in-clinic care or discounting the importance of human-to-human contact during consultations. By shifting our perspective towards a hybrid model that combines both online and offline interactions between clinicians and patients, we can take advantage of all available resources to deliver more comprehensive patient experiences – ultimately leading improved clinical outcomes overall.

As technology advances within healthcare industry continue moving forward rapidly understanding how best integrate these new tools into our existing practices will become increasingly important ensuring that we’re able provide highest level possible for all those who rely us their care support during times need.


What do you see as risks with providing health services virtually?


For more content like this, check out our Insights Page and check out The Better Outcomes Show. Or if you want to humanize healthcare through your business or organization, learn how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help here! You can also schedule a call with Rafi to discuss your company’s positioning strategy and brainstorm a business development plan here. Check out Rafi’s latest book, Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare, on Amazon!

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show and the author of Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare. His career trajectory includes 12+ years of experience in healthcare management, clinical operations, programmatic development, marketing & business development. He even spent some time as an Assistant Professor in a Graduate Program of Occupational Therapy and has served on numerous boards and regulatory committees. He has worked on projects ranging from patient engagement initiatives to marketing communication campaigns to a multi million dollar project assisting the State of Georgia's Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities transition individuals out of state institutions to community residences. His work on Telehealth has been discussed in Forbes.

Today, Rafi helps innovative healthcare companies like technology startups, platforms, SaaS companies & innovative healthcare organizations develop effective positioning strategy and business development plans through his consulting work. He also leverages his experience as a professor and academic to speak and train on the topics around humanizing the healthcare experience & healthcare innovation. In addition, Rafi also owns and operates ProActive Rehabilitation & Wellness, a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic treating patients with musculoskeletal pain.

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