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Spring 2024 - Safety

Is Hybrid Care the Future?

What the pandemic should be most credited for is convincing even the more resistant employers that hybrid work can benefit both employees and employers.

WHILE THE pandemic is credited by many for the hybrid work trend, the truth is hybrid work is not new. In fact, it can be traced back to the 1960s and even earlier, but it really took off in the 2000s when the Internet became reliable enough at home. Since then, hybrid work arrangements have transformed into various modes and models. What the pandemic should be most credited for is convincing even the more resistant employers that hybrid work can benefit both employees and employers. 

Indeed, since restrictions were lifted post-pandemic, 74 percent of U.S. companies have said they are using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid care model. And, while it may seem counterintuitive for medical practices to do so as well since they rely so heavily on physician-patient interaction, healthcare organizations are right in line with this statistic. In fact, most medical practices using a hybrid or remote care model began doing so during the pandemic, and they say they have no plans to stop anytime soon. One reason for this is that one in five medical employees in the United States have quit their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic, mostly due to burnout and stress. But, 86 percent of healthcare organizations that adopted a hybrid care model report their employees got happier since the transition.2  

What Is Hybrid Care?

Hybrid care “is a set of business strategies that allow a physician practice or hospital to expand its services to reach more patients while still providing quality care at an affordable price,” says Martyn Eeles, general partner and director of Europe for Global Health Impact Network. “The goal of hybrid health is flexibility without sacrificing quality care — in other words, it’s about being able to provide patients with better access to medical attention without breaking their bank accounts in the process.”3

Essentially, it works by combining the best of telehealth and in-person visits. Providers are able to deliver care in person, virtually or both. Providers and support staff rely on technology for secure video conferencing, automatic appointment reminders, billing and more, all of which apply to both in-person and virtual visits.4

Hybrid care uses tools to connect clinical partners, minimize risks and provide greater insight into individual health through active remote monitoring. It also increases patient engagement with reminders, educational content, chat features and other services.5

Benefits and Challenges of Hybrid Care

Surveys of medical practices show a host of benefits from hybrid care, including increased revenues, productivity and employee morale. In a survey of 150 healthcare providers by Software Advice, a company that helps companies find the right software for their needs, they found 56 percent of healthcare practices using hybrid or fully remote work models saw increased productivity, 39 percent saw increased revenue and 61 percent were able to see an increased number of patients. What’s more, 89 percent of practices said employees feel positively about working remotely some or all of the time, and 86 percent of practices that offer flexible work hours due to a hybrid or remote work environment saw improved employee morale.6

Hybrid care also addresses significant issues that undermine healthcare delivery such as shortages of nurses, clinical specialists and primary care providers.5 This is because it allows organizations to recruit professionals who live farther away and may only need to come into the office once a week or less frequently.7 

But, of course, hybrid care also poses some challenges such as maintaining a sense of connection and engagement with employees, as well as difficulty with training and onboarding.7

Adopting a Hybrid Care Model

Mountain Mover, a virtual assistant outsourcing company specializing in the healthcare industry, outlines the following essential steps for a successful hybrid care model:8

1) Define a hybrid care strategy. This involves deciding the proportion of care to be delivered virtually versus in person, which services will be devoted to virtual care, which patient populations can benefit from hybrid care and what metrics will be used for gauging patient satisfaction, improved health outcomes and cost-effectiveness.

2) Invest in technology. Select a secure and user-friendly telehealth platform that meets regulatory requirements for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and ensure it integrates seamlessly with the practice’s choice of electronic health record system. Consider investing in remote monitoring devices capable of collecting and transmitting patient data such as vital signs or glucose levels in real-time to healthcare providers. Develop or enhance patient portals that allow patients to schedule appointments, access health records and communicate securely with their healthcare team from the comfort of their homes. Explore secure messaging platforms for patient-provider communication, appointment reminders and educational materials. (According to survey results by Software Advice, 51 percent of practices spent less than $5,000 setting up their hybrid or remote practice, with the most common related purchases being telemedicine software (77 percent) and teleconferencing hardware (74 percent).6)

3) Train the team. Train staff, including administrative and support staff, on the utilization of telehealth platforms, digital health tools and new workflows.

4) Develop clear workflows. Determine how patients will schedule virtual appointments; the process for conducting virtual consultations, including patient onboarding and consent; how providers will access and update patient records during virtual visits; how prescriptions and follow-up care will be managed in a virtual setting; and what contingency plans need to be in place for emergencies or situations that require in-person evaluation.

5) Pilot the model. Consider conducting a pilot program among a subset of providers and patients to test workflows, technology and training within a controlled environment. 

6) Communicate with patients. Make patients aware of the new hybrid care options, the methodology for accessing virtual services and the advantages that come with this approach.

7) Monitor and evaluate performance. Establish a system for ongoing monitoring and evaluation by regularly collecting and analyzing data pertaining to patient outcomes, satisfaction, operational efficiency and cost savings.

Adena Health System, which has four hospitals and six regional clinics in Ohio, has come up with a couple of solutions to address the challenges to a hybrid workforce. To maintain a sense of connection among employees, it has adopted technology platforms such as WebEx teams and Workplace from Meta that allow employees to communicate and recognize great work across departments. And, to help train and onboard new employees, it has implemented an Emerging Leader program to pair up new employees with mentors or coaches to share expertise and provide exposure to opportunities they might not otherwise have.7 

Making Hybrid Healthcare Work

Of course, healthcare services will in many instances require in-person care, and there is a lot to be said for the healing benefits of physical presence. However, by blending technology into the background, hybrid care can be tailored to fit almost any healthcare organizations’ circumstances, as long as there are optimal clinical outcomes, staff burden and patient experiences.


1. McCain, A. 30 Essential Hybrid Work Statistics (2023): Hybrid Work Model, Data and Productivity. Zippia, June 15, 2023. Accessed at

2. Cacoveanu, A. Report: The Impact of Hybrid Work on Healthcare Workplaces. Yarooms, May 30, 2023. Accessed at

3. Eeles, M. What Is Hybrid Health? LinkedIn, Feb. 19, 2023. Accessed at

4. What Is a Hybrid Healthcare System: A Definition of How It Works? Mend, Oct. 26, 2022. Accessed at

5. Caregility. Healthcare’s Future Is a Hybrid Model. Accessed at

6. Morris, L. Morale Improved for 86% of Medical Practices That Went Hybrid. Software Advice, Feb. 27, 2023. Accessed at

7. Tsibursky, G. How Hospitals Can Make Hybrid Work. Forbes, July 10, 2023. Accessed at

8. Hannah, R. How to Transition Your Practice to a Hybrid Care Model. Mountain Mover, Oct. 20, 2023. Accessed at

Ronale Tucker Rhodes, MS
Ronale Tucker Rhodes, MS, is the Senior Editor-in-Chief of BioSupply Trends Quarterly magazine.