We should push for more progress in telehealth
Over the last few months, millions of Americans have used telehealth services — the remote delivery of care and health monitoring using digital telecommunications tools — to get health care. Federal and state policymakers have made it easier to access telehealth during the pandemic to keep people home and safe but there is no reason to slow the momentum after so much progress has been made.
Due to policy changes at the state and federal levels, the use of telehealth has grown faster in the past five months than in the preceding 25 years. During the COVID-19 pandemic:
Nearly one in two consumers have used telehealth to replace a canceled in-person appointment
More than 11.3 million Medicare enrollees accessed care from the comfort and safety of their own homes
The Veterans Administration provided 1.1 million telehealth visits for veterans
Most of the current telehealth expansions are temporary and will expire with the end of the current public health emergency declaration. But they don’t need to. In fact, 39 senators from both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation that would make some of those changes permanent.
Read the full op-ed here.