Leveraging Content to Support Virtual Care

Steven Franklin, Product Marketing Manager

A healthcare provider shows an xray to a patient via a computer on a virtual health appointment.


Virtual care is the new “normal” for both patients and providers. According to the CDC, 37% of adults reported that they used telehealth in the past 12 months. As your organization has implemented a virtual care infrastructure, you probably also integrated common best practices, which might include robust technology, training in effective digital communication, security, and privacy.

But one area you may have overlooked is delivering targeted health education virtually.

Why is health education essential in virtual care?

Health education is an essential component of any patient-provider interaction, but it may be even more important in virtual care. However, providing content can be challenging when patients and providers are not in the same physical location.

Here's why health education is essential in virtual care settings:

  • Effective conversations can be difficult in virtual care (meaning over the phone or in telehealth). There’s often a higher risk of miscommunication.
  • Patients don’t receive printed materials in virtual care, so ensuring successful delivery of education through another channel is key.
  • A patient’s attention might be divided in virtual care settings, so it's even more important to provide aftercare resources for them to refer to after the appointment.

The benefits of leveraging patient education in virtual care

  • Increased patient engagement. Patient education content helps engage patients in their care by providing them with relevant information about their condition, treatment options, and self-management techniques. This can help them become more invested in their health and take an active role in their treatment.
  • Improved health outcomes. When patients receive education content through virtual healthcare, it helps them better understand their condition, medicine, and treatment plan. This can lead to improved adherence to treatment and better health outcomes.
  • Convenience. Patient education content can be accessed from anywhere, anytime, from any device making it a convenient option for patients who may have trouble attending in-person appointments. This 24/7 access can be especially beneficial for patients who live in rural areas, have mobility issues, or are unable to travel.
A patient reviews virtual health education on a tablet.


Tips for delivering virtual health education

You don’t want to share just any old education with patients. Using high-quality education gets the best results, and you want to make sure you share it in a way that gets the best results. Here are some standard best practices you can follow to ensure your health education content is effective and convenient for virtual care patients.

Leverage interactive multimedia

When providing health education information in a virtual care setting, you are not tied to printouts or handouts. Instead, you can leverage the full power of multimedia learning—including videos and interactive tools—to help patients learn more effectively.

Multimedia education can enhance learning, increase engagement, improve accessibility, and lead to better health outcomes. If you’re not leveraging multimedia content, consider making it a priority for virtual care appointments.

Choose the right delivery for easy access

Patients should be able to easily access patient education through methods like text messages, emails, in-app notifications, or alerts in their patient portal. The key is to provide multiple options that let patients receive the health education they need regardless of their comfort level with technology.

As a backup, make sure you have a method for delivering health education to patients who don’t have access to the internet or a digital device. This might be as simple as printing and mailing the health education when needed.

Track delivery and views

While you may not be printing and handing education to patients, it’s still important to track what education patients receive and how they engage with it. One advantage of digital content delivery over traditional print content is that you can see when the patient accessed the content and track that information back to the patient’s record.

Additionally, if you’re using interactive tools to educate virtual patients, you can build in methods to track responses and share that information with providers (with patient permission).

Enable sharing

Patients may need to share digital content related to their virtual appointment with caregivers and family members. Consider leveraging easy-share methods that allow patients to send the content to others, such as enabling them to send an email, text, or forward the content to those they choose.

Make sure the education is effective

Finally, any education you deliver should be designed for effectiveness, whether virtually or in-person. Some things to look for in effective health education are that it’s evidence-based, easy to understand, and motivational.

Ultimately, health education can improve patient outcomes and it’s especially important in virtual care settings.

Interested in learning more about digital health education delivery? Visit our Digital Experiences page to see how you can leverage access to thousands of videos, articles, and interactive tools in your websites and digital applications. Having trouble selecting a health education solution? "The Buyer’s Guide to Selecting the Right Health Education Solution" outlines the seven key components to look for when making your choice.