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.
(10/01/21) Do Hospitals Need to Extend Telehealth Services? An Experimental Study of Different Telehealth Modalities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A new research article published in Methods of Information in Medicine seeks to answer how patients evaluate different telehealth services when compared to in-person services. Increased demand for telehealth in the COVID-19 pandemic has led to questions about the most effective ways to deliver care in general.
(10/01/21) JD Power Survey Sees Telehealth Falling Back Into the Same Old Rut
Following a surge in telehealth use, seeing a rise from 7% in the year before the COVID-19 pandemic to 36% utilization in 2021, a new survey from JD Power finds that customer satisfaction is declining, although nearly half of patients who utilized telehealth within the past year reported convenience and quickness of care as top reasons for utilizing telehealth services.
(09/30/21) Most Provider Organizations Boosting Telehealth Investments, Survey Finds
This interview from Healthcare IT News discusses a recent survey indicating more than half of hospitals and health systems are increasing their investment in virtual care. Although initial investments into telemedicine came out of necessity early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the positive impacts of virtual care are leading many organizations to continue and expand the practice.
(09/23/21) Advancement in Telehealth During COVID-19 Pandemic
This article from The National Law Review looks at the ways telehealth has changed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the regulatory actions enacted during the pandemic were temporary, with legislatures working to make some changes permanent and improve access to the technology, while preventing fraud and abuse.
(09/21/21) What Will the Next Year Look Like for Telehealth? ‘Well Above Pre-pandemic Levels’
This interview in Healthcare IT News offers an expert perspective on what to expect in terms of telehealth utilization over the next year. The major takeaway from this expert is to expect operational changes and new trends that mirror COVID-19 pandemic-level utilization more than utilization of telehealth prior to the pandemic.
(09/21/21) How the Veterans Affairs Department Went Digital During the Pandemic
This article, published by Nextgov, details how the United States Veterans Affairs Department utilized the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic to address long-standing issues in the way health care is delivered to veterans. Improvements to digital infrastructure and new practices allowed a quintupling of telehealth visits and other improvements for the agency.
(09/20/21) Increasing Access to Quality Mental Health Care Through Telepsychiatry
The author of this Psychiatric Times article argues for utilizing telepsychiatry to improve access to mental health services for children at a time when all but 7 states are experiencing a shortage in psychiatrists specializing in children and adolescents, as both the workforce and these patients have experienced increased stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic.
(8/31/21) Telehealth’s Limits: Battle Over State Lines and Licensing Threatens Patients’ Options
This jointly-published article from Kaiser Health News and Time discusses the repercussions of the coming changes to regulations about medical appointments across state lines through telehealth services. As emergency pandemic-related exemptions expire, many providers are left unable to continue to provide care remotely to patients as they have been able to throughout the pandemic.
(08/18/2021) Telehealth Playing Huge Role in Child Healthcare During COVID-19 Pandemic
Telehealth is now playing a larger role in child health care amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This article highlights the need for low-income families to find other options for health care as well as the benefits of the new Telehealth Improvement For Kids’ Essential Services Act (TIKES Act).
(08/06/21) Telebehavioral Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Analysis of Provider Experiences and Perspectives
This research article published in Telemedicine and e-Health studies behavioral health provider perspectives on the use of telebehavioral health before and during the pandemic, as well as how policy changes impacted access to and utilization of behavioral health services in Michigan.
(07/25/21) Telehealth Leapt Forward With COVID-19. Who Was Left Behind?
This article introduces a couple of anecdotes about how telehealth has helped vulnerable patients since the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth went up dramatically in use during the pandemic. The rise of telehealth has also raised concerns about perpetuating unequal access to care. Poorer residents remain much less likely than wealthy ones to have broadband internet access. Video visits can gobble up limited data on phone plans and are especially hard for patients who don’t have a private place to talk.
(07/22/21) Surviving to Thriving: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Expanded Telehealth
In response to COVID-19, the use of telehealth has been expanded rapidly, and policy changes paved the way. The CDC recommended that health care facilities and providers in areas hit by COVID offer virtual services. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services relaxed telehealth regulations, e.g., allowing physicians licensed in one state to see patients in a different state. As a result, there has been a 154% increase in telehealth visits during the last week of March 2020. 46% of all patients say they use telehealth for some visits, compared to just 11% in 2019 since the beginning of the pandemic, while in-person visits have slowed slightly during the same period. 83% of patients say they are likely to continue using telemedicine after COVID.
(07/16/21) United States: A Target On Telehealth: Government Action Against Telehealth Fraud In The Wake of COVID-19
Preventing telehealth fraud was a priority for the United States Department of Justice even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the widespread adoption of telehealth during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, this article published in Mondaq discusses the efforts from the government to combat fraud in telehealth service delivery.
(07/03/21) Health Technology in School-based Health Centers: Supporting Continuous Care During COVID-19
This research article published in the journal Health Technology examines the use of telehealth services in school-based health centers. As the COVID-19 pandemic led to dramatic and unprecedented, widespread use of telehealth, this research can help identify benefits and difficulties in implementation of telehealth programs in both schools as well as in other medical settings.
(06/28/21) Floridians’ Access to Telehealth Could Suffer As State Order Expires
Even though telehealth services surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, health care providers are uncertain about the future of telehealth now that the public health emergency is ending. In Florida, as of last week, telephones are no longer acceptable to deliver telehealth services to non-Medicare patients and physicians cannot use telehealth to prescribed controlled substances for treating chronic non-malignant pain.
(06/28/21) Uncertain Telehealth Laws Keep Substance Abuse Care Providers on Their Toes
Substance abuse care providers, including mental and behavioral health providers, who used telehealth services like MAT therapy during COVID-19, are uncertain about how post COVID-19 telehealth rules will affect how they use telehealth. Some states have revised their telehealth rules based on the pandemic while other states are waiting for the federal government to set a long-term policy.
(06/17/21) Audit Finds Telehealth Services for Mental Health May Be at Risk
New York State’s COVID-19 state of emergency has enabled rapid expansion and adoption of telehealth services, however, without action from the state, hundreds of mental health providers will no longer be able to provide services via telehealth once the state of emergency ends.
(06/16/21) #ATA2021: Telehealth Is Key to Equity and Access for Every Patient Population
This podcast clip introduces a recent case study that explains how telehealth can help address healthcare disparities by improving access to care for vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Telehealth can be combined with higher privacy protection and translation technologies that can expand the primary care services to the homeless and people with limited English proficiency. Additionally, the study also highlights that the use of telehealth helped providers reduce costs and seniors be familiar with digital devices.
(06/15/21) AMA Adopts Policies to Advance Telehealth, Close Digital Divide and Tackle Prior Authorization Burdens
The American Medical Association has approved new policies to help advance telehealth, rural health, and COVID-19-related difficulties experienced throughout the pandemic. Some of these changes include new methods for reimbursing for health care delivery both in-person and digitally and advising the federal government on equitable distribution of resources, such as personal protective equipment.
(06/13/21) Patient Characteristics Associated With the Successful Transition to Virtual Care: Lessons Learned From the First Million Patients
This journal article from the Sage Journal’s Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare analyzes the impact of the increased use of telehealth to maintain ambulatory care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study assessed patient characteristics that were associated with the successful transition from in-person to virtual care as well as the differences in video and audio-only participation.
(06/10/21) Telehealth Has Enabled Wider Access During COVID-19 – But Not for Everyone
The American Telemedicine Association held their annual conference recently, which brought light to the many changes the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated relating to telehealth service delivery, use, and acceptance. One major issue highlighted at the conference, however, is the inequities in access to telehealth services, which depend on internet access and english language proficiency, among other issues.
(06/09/21) Opportunities in a Time of Crisis: Launching Innovative Long-term Care Programs During COVID-19
In this commentary published by United Hospital Fund, the author advocates for using telehealth in innovative ways in long-term care settings. The long-term care industry has experienced high rates of turnover, shortages in workers, and other challenges since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and telehealth may offer solutions to improve outcomes for both patients and providers.
(06/08/21) The Transition of Academic Mental Health Clinics to Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic
New research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, documented and evaluated the rapid transition to telehealth services at eight academic child and adolescent psychiatry programs in the US and Canada. The research found documenting the barriers and successes to telehealth services can help to promote better telehealth practice in the future.
(06/07/21) COVID Was a Tipping Point for Telehealth. If Some Have Their Way, Virtual Visits Are Here to Stay
This article jointly published by Kaiser Health News and USA Today highlights the changes to telehealth delivery in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, and efforts by some to ensure it becomes a permanent fixture in the health care system. Telehealth visits sured initially in the pandemic and have leveled off at more than 10% of all visits weekly, compared to approximately 1% prior to the pandemic.