Why Practices Should Still Utilize Telehealth Amid COVID-19
COVID-19 prompted a widespread adoption of telehealth solutions across the country. Pro...
At the beginning of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, telehealth use exploded across the country. The sudden need to limit in-person visits and interactions forced providers to change their care delivery methods. While telehealth has made a splash in healthcare over the last few years, utilization is higher than it has ever been during the pandemic. So what will happen to the use of this technology post-pandemic?
The Impact of COVID-19 on Telehealth
In a hurry to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, any providers turned to virtual visits and remote patient care. This offered an already established and relatively well-known visit alternative that limited in-person interactions. At the start of the pandemic, telehealth utilization skyrocketed across the country. Now, nearly 6 months later, providers are seeking a decline in the utilization of this technology. Does this mean that the sudden use of this technology was temporary or does will it still be used post-pandemic?
What Will Happen to Telehealth Post-Pandemic?
Chronic Care Management:
An area where telehealth has proven incredibly useful is Chronic Care Management. At the start of the pandemic, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) announced that it would temporarily be extending coverage to over 80 telehealth services. This meant that those in a chronic care management visit could now visit with their providers remotely and still receive the care they depend on. This allowed them to adhere to social distancing regulations and stay safe from the virus. What will happen when the virus is under control?
CMS is considering whether or not to continue covering telemedicine services after the pandemic is over. It has offered a much more manageable alternative visit option for patients who usually have to travel to and from their providers on a frequent basis. With the use of telehealth improving the patient experience for the chronically ill, utilization is expected to remain high throughout CCM programs.
Mental and Behavioral Health Access:
As mental and behavioral health issues are destigmatized across the country, people are looking for accessible and affordable options. Telehealth makes mental and behavioral health services accessible to anyone with internet or mobile access. In 2020, this is nearly everyone. With transportation being a large obstacle across many communities, telehealth offers a solution. With this tool making these services so accessible throughout all communities, utilization is expected to stay the same if not continue to grow in this field.
Throughout the pandemic, telehealth has been used as a method to prescreen patients prior to entering a medical office. This ensures that no-one who is experiencing symptoms of the virus comes contaminates others or surfaces in your organization. This form of patient pre-screening could be used in the future for other conditions. For example, flu season is upon us and pre-screening could play an important role in eliminating the spread.
Although telehealth utilization is down overall, it is still expected to continue impacting different areas across the medical field. To learn more about a quality solution that could help you before and after the pandemic, click here.