Telehealth

Information about how COVID-19 has changed the use of telehealth to provide health care, including access, scope of practice, and regulatory changes at the state, federal, and organizational levels.

(09/24/20) Telemedicine: A Harbinger of Healthcare Transformation?
This opinion piece forecasts more reliance on the electronic and virtual changes to health care accelerated by the pandemic, even after the regulatory easing on privacy and insurance companies reconsider reimbursement. Issues to be considered include when virtual visits should be prioritized over in-person and how much should they be reimbursed.

(09/23/20) Telehealth Should Be Expanded—if it Can Address Today’s Health Care Challenges
This post featured on the Health Affairs blog promotes further expansion of telehealth following the rapid expansion and implementation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning to integrate these advancements into the health care system in a post-pandemic world will be essential for continued adoption and improvement on telehealth services.

(09/21/20) Mayo’s Chief Digital Officer: The Hospital of the Future Isn’t Just About Technology
This interview with Rita Khan, Chief Digital Officer of the Mayo Clinic, discusses the nature of utilizing telehealth and technology to empower patience and encourage further transparency in health care delivery.

(09/21/20) Setting a Strategy to Maximize Telehealth’s Potential
An article from Margaret O’Kane, President of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, about strategically utilizing telehealth services to meet the needs of health care providers both during the pandemic and beyond. As health care workers risked their lives treating patients early in the pandemic, state and national governments relaxed restrictions on telehealth services and providers worked to fill in the gap with using the technology to meet non-emergency care needs.

(09/14/20) A Timeline of Telehealth Support From the Federal Government During the Pandemic
This timeline from Becker’s Hospital Review shows the timeline of support for telehealth from the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning March 6 and progressing to early September.

(09/16/20) Telehealth Task Force Announces Policy Change Recommendations
An article covering highlights from the Taskforce on Telehealth Policy’s latest report on recommendations for the continued use of telehealth once the pandemic is over. This taskforce has been examining the impact of telehealth and preparing recommendations since June.

(09/10/20) Beyond COVID-19: Making Telehealth More Accessible and Equitable
An article from Sarah Krevans, the President and CEO of Sutter Health, discussing the ability for telehealth expansion to enable health care providers to reach traditionally underserved communities like never before. Sutter Health is based in Sacramento, California, serving a geographically and demographically diverse population and forming partnerships with local organizations and creating “telehealth champions” to help with adoption of services in diverse areas.

(09/09/20) Five Ways—Beyond Current Policy—to Truly Integrate Telehealth Into Primary Care Practices
This blog post featured on Health Affairs discusses opportunities for better integration of telehealth technology and services into primary care practice. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly expanded the use of telehealth, with many eyeing possibilities for further utilization.

(09/01/20) Telehealth Visits Are Plunging, Forcing Providers to Recalibrate
An article covering the decreasing trend of telehealth visits as a percentage of total visits to health care providers. Telehealth utilization dropped from nearly two-thirds of visits early in the pandemic to nearly one-fifth in mid July, leading to changes in the way providers operate their practices.

(08/31/20) As Telemedicine Replaces the Physical Exam, What Are Doctors Missing?
This interview from NPR discusses a physician’s perspective on what is potentially lost from the widespread adoption of telehealth services. As telehealth technology enables easier access to primary care from distant locations, some physicians are concerned about losing the physical examination, which provides opportunities to catch certain conditions, like heart failure, in ways not yet possible with remote technology.

(08/30/20) Fad or Future? Telehealth Expansion Eyed Beyond Pandemic
This article published by the Associated Press highlights how regulatory flexibility and technological advancement have enabled telehealth to expand rapidly under the COIVID-19 pandemic. Following this expansion are calls for a permanent place for telehealth in this enlarged capacity.

(08/27/20) Using Telehealth to Revolutionize the Speed of Making Rare Disease Diagnoses
This opinion piece discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has led to rapid adoption of telehealth technology, and enabled some significant potential benefits of this expansion. As telehealth use increases and more providers utilize the technology, there is hope for increased speed and collaboration in making difficult, rare diagnoses.

(08/26/20) Can Telehealth Help Medical Practices Ditch the Waiting Room?
An article covering some of the unanticipated benefits of utilizing telehealth technology, especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Allowing patients to virtually check in, fill out forms, match insurance, and more can help clear waiting rooms and enable safer access to health care.

(08/21/20) A Pandemic Gives Telehealth a New Purpose With Community Paramedicine
This article discusses some of the important and innovative ways telehealth technology is being utilized to improve quality of service and care coordination in health care. Utilizing the technology, emergency medical service providers are providing better, more informed care outside of clinical settings.

(08/21/20) It’s Time to Permanently Suspend Regulatory Barriers to Telehealth
The use of telehealth technology to deliver quality health care has risen substantially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency regulations have enabled access and utilization like never seen before, and many are calling for permanent suspension of regulatory barriers to enable telehealth technology to continue to thrive.

(08/19/20) What We Learned From COVID: Telehealth is Here to Stay
An opinion piece from Republican Representative Kevin Hern of Oklahoma discussing the “new normal” that is telehealth expansion to address COVID-19, even beyond the eventual end of the pandemic. The expansion of telehealth has driven it from a scarcely used service to an essential and reliable component of health care, especially in rural communities.

(08/18/20) Telehealth Visits Skyrocket Among Americans Age 50-80
The percentage of adults aged 50-80 who utilize telehealth services has increased from just 4% in May 2019 to more than 30% in June 2020. This article discusses the opportunities of expansion, including increased access, ease, and comfort receiving health care, and threats to expansion, such as lack of tech experience and a preference for in person visits.

(08/17/20) Telehealth and the New Choreography of ‘Anywhere Care’
An opinion piece featured in STAT discussing some of the barriers of providing comprehensive health care using telehealth services. Issues with access to specialties to payment parity to maintaining provider-patient relationships are all concerns for the widespread adoption and success of telehealth.

(08/14/20) Moving On From Telehealth-by-desperation: What Will Make Telehealth Stick
Reports in April indicated that as many as 90% of physicians in the United States were utilizing some form of telehealth technology to treat patients remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Health Affairs blog post offers some strategies to ensure continued use of the technology, including ensuring HIPAA compliance and addressing treatment quality concerns.

(08/13/20) Medicare Telehealth Expansion Could Be Here to Stay. Here’s Where Things Stand
An article describing the current status of telehealth expansion regulations for Medicare beneficiaries and where those restrictions may lead in the future. While the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled widespread implementation of telehealth services, policymakers are seeking ways to address cost and quality of the services provided.

(08/11/20) Reducing Barriers to Using Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring for Pediatric Populations under Medicaid
This report identifies strategies for reducing barriers to using services delivered via telehealth for the treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) among pediatric populations under Medicaid.

(08/10/20) Telehealth and the Future of the US Healthcare Industry
This article examines the effects of telehealth on US healthcare during COVID-19 and looks at ways telemedicine is going to shape the future of healthcare.

(08/04/20) CMS Expands Telehealth Coverage in Physician Fee Rule Following Trump Executive Order
An article discussing a new executive order signed by United States President Donald Trump making permanent many expansions of telehealth regulations enacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the public health emergency.

(08/03/20) Is Telemedicine Here to Stay?
An article featured in The New York Times recapping how telehealth has been used since the beginning of the pandemic, with many asking for the regulatory changes made to be maintained beyond the pandemic.

(08/03/20) COVID-19 Pandemic Drives Telehealth Boom, but Older Adults Can’t Connect
An article that examines how older patients are having difficulty accessing telehealth services during the pandemic due to inability to connect to necessary technology or unreadiness to use it, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco published in JAMA.

(07/31/20) Trump Administration Aims to Keep Telehealth Revolution Here to Stay
An opinion article in USA Today that addresses the barriers to telehealth and what strategies are needed to make telehealth more accessible such as regulatory reform and statutory changes in Congress.

(07/28/20) Telemedicine Explodes to the Forefront Amid COVID-19
An article covering the implementation and use of telemedicine before and throughout the pandemic, as well as thoughts on how telehealth usage will continue when the pandemic is over.

(07/28/20) ASPE Issue Brief: Medicare Beneficiary Use of Telehealth Visits: Early Data From the Start of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation has released an issue brief examining changes to the Medicare fee-for-service primary care visits and utilization of telehealth since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency declaration.

(07/27/20) Virtual Care Advances Are the Silver Lining of COVID-19. Here’s How We Make Them Permanent
An article covering some of the advances seen as positive results of the COVID-19 pandemic, with suggestions to maintain the benefits beyond the crisis. Some suggestions include lifting geographic restrictions for both patients and providers, making permanent the expansion of allowed services, and maintaining reimbursement rates for meeting standards of care.

(07/27/20) My Patients Want the Good Old Days of Office Visits. That’s Not Happening Any Time Soon
An opinion piece from a primary care physician discussing her office’s usage of telehealth services at a time when their clinic is seeing less than a quarter of their usual in-person volume. While some patients have conditions requiring in-person care, there are many who would benefit from telehealth.

(07/23/20) Legislators and Healthcare Orgs Rally in Favor of Bipartisan Telehealth Bill
A bipartisan effort in the United States House of Representatives has been introduced with the intention of increasing access to telehealth services for people on Medicare. The popular measures being proposed include elimination of restrictions for geographic and originating sites, making it easier for providers to treat patients regardless of location.

(07/22/20) Care Delivery Transformation: Integrating Telehealth and Home-Based Care
Part of the Alliance for Health Policy’s Signature Series Summit on Disruptors and Transformers during the COVID-19 pandemic, this panel discusses the integration of telehealth and home-based care. Covered in the discussion are digital care delivery transformations as a result of COVID-19, and how the use of telehealth impacts patients, caregivers, and providers.

(07/20/20) Prioritizing Access to Care: Keeping Telehealth Options for All Americans
An opinion piece advocating for the importance of telehealth in protecting patients amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the current bipartisan legislation being introduced to maintain the expanded telehealth services and access beyond the pandemic.

(07/16/20) Expanding Telehealth in a Post-COVID World
An article from the National Law Review covering changes in regulation and expansion to telehealth services expected following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the changes made to address the pandemic. Historic regulations that worked to limit telehealth services have now been largely replaced with those in favor of telehealth service, and that is likely to remain.

(07/14/20) Patients Want to Keep Using Virtual Care After COVID-19 Pandemic Ends, Survey Finds
An article covering a new survey finding that a majority of patients who had experienced telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic would like to see these services remain in the future, among other metrics.

(07/13/20) 8 in 10 Consumers Stated COVID-19 Made Telehealth “Indispensable” in Healthcare Delivery
A new study featured in the 2020 Change Healthcare – Harris Poll Consumer Experience Index has found 8 in 10 consumers finding immense importance in the use of telehealth for treatment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers also identified a desire for accurate cost estimates for the treatment they are receiving.

(07/13/20) NY Providers Urge Measures to Sustain Telehealth Access Post-COVID
Health care advocacy organizations in New York are calling for making permanent many of the regulatory changes that have improved access to health care through telehealth visits. They are also requesting more flexibility in which health care providers are allowed to offer telehealth services.

(07/08/20) Centering on Coronavirus Podcast: The Expansion of Telehealth
A podcast exploring the use of telehealth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and its potential for beyond. As Telehealth has become a main component of health care delivery following the COVID-19 pandemic, many providers and patients are finding value in the increased access and ability to avoid risk of infection of in person visits.

(07/06/20) Telehealth Providers Doing ‘More Visits Than Humanly Possible’ in a Day Draw CMS Scrutiny
Seema Verma, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, stated during an interview that the agency is examining methods for detecting and investigating fraud in telehealth utilization, following some clinicians providing more telehealth visits than is actually possible at the emergency increased reimbursement rate.

(07/06/20) The Return of Housecalls: How COVID-19 Will Change Healthcare Forever
An article discussing the way in which COVID-19 has forced major changes in the United States health care industry, with historic “housecalls” making a comeback, although this time virtually. As telehealth offers increasing convenience and high levels of care, it likely is here to stay.

(07/02/20) Telehealth Called a ‘Silver Lining’ of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This Time, It Might Stick
An article covering the change in the use of telehealth since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although use has currently fallen from its peak in April, for many situations, from patient questions to mental health visits, telehealth is proving to be a valuable and effective service that will likely continue in the future.

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