Why Telehealth Should be a Long-term Care Mode in the Healthcare Sector
Telehealth utilization and adoption skyrocketed early in the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers and healthcare providers explored safer ways to access and deliver healthcare. The telehealth’s continued growth is driven by strong ongoing adoption, excellent consumer perception, and tangible investment in this field.
The quantity of funds being invested in virtual health continues to increase. The demand on companies in the virtual health ecosystem to innovate and discover breakthrough models that will provide a sustained competitive advantage in this rapidly evolving field is increasing as investment in virtual health businesses reaches impressive growth. This is especially exciting for patients and customers, as virtual care delivery approaches are likely to become more revolutionary in the future.
Interest and implementation in adoption of telemedicine has skyrocketed during the crisis, as policymakers, insurers, and health systems tried to discover ways to provide care to patients in their homes to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Due to the increased demand for telemedicine, many revisions to telehealth policy, coverage, and implementation have been implemented in order to make telemedicine more widely available and accessible during this state of emergency.
Some regulatory reforms established during COVID-19 that made telehealth more accessible have been made permanent. When the public health emergency resolves, some telehealth restrictions may rebound to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Telehealth services are essential during the pandemic to decrease employee contact to sick patients, save personal protective equipment (PPE), and limit the effects of patient surges on hospitals. Adopting approaches that do not depend on in-person services, healthcare organizations have had to adapt the way they assess, diagnose, and treat patients. Telehealth services assist in providing essential care to patients while minimizing the likelihood of COVID-19 being transmitted to healthcare professionals (HCP) and patients.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a spike in both HCP and patient interest in using telehealth services. However, recent policy changes have lowered obstacles to telemedicine access and pushed the use of telehealth to deliver enhanced care. Telehealth can also help patients experience better health outcomes.
Telehealth can enable healthcare systems, organizations, and clinicians increase access and quality of care in remote regions. Leveraging telehealth to deliver and assist with the delivery of healthcare services in rural areas can help patients overcome hurdles and burdens, such as problems while travelling for specialty care. Within the healthcare system, telehealth can also improve monitoring, responsiveness, and communications.
Telehealth is the Game changer
When COVID-19 disrupted access for patients across the country, a large number of private insurers swiftly followed suit, and the adoption of telehealth surged. Many patients were happy about the technology. They could see doctors in the comfort of their own homes, eliminating the hassles of transportation, job, and childcare. The telehealth technology greatly benefitted people who were economically or socially deprived, and communities in remote locations who had poor healthcare accessibility. The audio-only sessions are mainly beneficial for people who don’t have high-speed connections or have trouble using telehealth technology.
Several facets of telehealth policy are dictated by the federal government, including:
- Nationwide patient privacy regulations
- Federal prescribing laws for controlled substances
- Funding for telehealth initiatives and
- Medicare coverage of telehealth.
The federal government has taken the initiative in all of these realms in response to the COVID-19 emergency to enable telemedicine more easily accessible. The federal government has already focused on relaxing telehealth restrictions in the Medicare program. The Department of Health and Human Services has waived HIPAA enforcement for telemedicine, while the DEA has simplified regulations for e-prescribing controlled substances.
Many state governments have prioritized expanding telehealth in Medicaid programmes by eliminating state-level limitations on,
- Provider licensing
- Online prescribing, and
- Written consent
Many states are also mandating fully-insured private plans to address and reimburse telemedicine services. Several commercial insurers have proactively addressed telehealth as part of their COVID-19 approach by concentrating on cost sharing reduction and elimination and coverage development.
In response to unprecedented impetus to expand services and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, governments and commercial insurers are broadening telehealth coverage and loosening existing laws. Many healthcare facilities have swiftly revised their existing models of care to incorporate telemedicine. Technology has the potential to boost health-care quality while also making it more accessible to all individuals. The COVID-19 crisis has emphasized the significance of telemedicine and provided an opportunity to modernize the healthcare system. This will be accomplished by incorporating telehealth into the care continuum at a large scale.