The Need for Telehealth Has Never Been Greater
The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed one of the biggest transformations of healthcare: the way doctors treat patients across the country.
Telehealth, the use of computers, tablets, smart phones or telephones to receive healthcare services at home, as opposed to a doctor’s office, has been in use for a while, but it has recently gained acceptance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The need for telehealth has never been greater.
Telehealth helps alleviate the shortage of doctors and nurses because it enables medical professionals to still provide hospice, palliative and other services online to patients who are also at home. Telehealth is especially important for patients who do not have COVID-19 and have a serious or terminal diagnosis because it keeps them away from emergency rooms and urgent care facilities where they could contract the virus.
We are seeing that this pandemic will likey not end anytime soon.
As governors lift stay-at-home orders and hospitals and health systems throughout the country resume elective, non-emergency care, changing policies is critical to determine the best way to keep these virtual services moving forward.
Patients, their loved ones and clinicians increasingly are adopting and supporting the use of telehealth and other virtual services to deliver end-of-life care. Policymakers must extend their financial and policy support for telehealth throughout the public health emergency and after it ends to ensure suitable access to healthcare for everyone — especially our sickest and most vulnerable people.