Corporations are moving aggressively into virtual primary care including through apps that operate as virtual walk-in-clinics undermining continuity of care. Patients and physicians are turning to these models due to unmet needs in the current system; however, these models will result in negative outcomes on health outcomes, privacy, and societal inequality. Some of the issues identified with virtual care are:
- Inequitable infrastructure & delivery - the pushing of virtual care services leads to issues of inequity as some populations have trouble accessing virtual care especially if that care is not grounded in existing care provider relationships. In addition, the draining of physicians from the public system into private virtual care platforms creates even more demand for the majority of patients.
- Poor clinical outcomes - virtual care not grounded in existing or new long-term care provider relationships lead to worse outcomes for patients as there is less follow-up and less attention paid to the social determinants of health for patients. For-profit private providers do not share information with long-term or existing care providers leaving gaps in patient knowledge and follow-up
- Monetization of patient data - for-profit operators are entering the virtual care space seeing profit to be made out of not only providing services to patients but also to monetize patient data. These for-profit operators are not accountable to the public on how patient data is stored or collected.