Patient telehealth visits skyrocketed during the pandemic due to lockdowns and social distancing measures that kept providers and patients apart. Even as the pandemic slows, practicing medicine virtually is here to stay. A recent report titled the ‘COVID-19 Telehealth Impact Study’, conducted by The American Medical Association in collaboration with the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, found that a vast majority of providers and patients plan to use telehealth in the future. According to Dr. Francis X. Campion of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition:
“Patients really are not only pleased with their telehealth, but they are anticipating — pretty much expecting — to be able to use it in the future. So, for policy makers and for health care providers … we need to figure out how do we do this for the benefit of our patients.”
A New Normal
The pandemic has permanently shifted the way that patients and providers interact. We agree that telehealth is a new normal and the positive feedback is extremely promising for this new mode of practicing medicine. But what about the downsides? Physicians have a few concerns about implementing telehealth for the long-term. Their #1 concern?
73% of physicians worry there will be low—or no—payment.
Other physicians’ concerns uncovered by the AMA:
64%—technology challenges for patients
33%—medical liability exposure
30%—integration with the EHR
23%—clinician dissatisfaction 18%—licensure
Despite the challenges, physicians are optimistic about the potential of telehealth to benefit their patients’ lives. The AMA Physicians Grassroots Network have dedicated themselves to rally in a collective effort to support of Congressional legislation that will ensure expanded access to telehealth services. In addition, physicians around the country are dedicated to improving the telehealth experience for patients by improving access to telehealth regardless of patients’ age, race, socioeconomic conditions, disabilities and other related factors.
What will the future hold for telehealth in medicine?
Learn more by reading the full article from the American Medical Association.