Leadership | 04.15.21
What COVID-19 Taught Us About Telemedicine
The pandemic created the ideal testbed for telemedicine. With virtual care and video consults becoming a necessity due to office closures and other safety measures, telemedicine is expected to become a permanent feature of healthcare. "We've learned so much about the many different things doctors can do to connect with patients, in ways they never did before, that it will be hard to turn back the clock," explains Harvard Medical School Professor Daniel Z. Sands. Future telehealth access depends on whether policies adopted at the start of the pandemic continue. The American Telemedicine Association and other healthcare groups are urging Congress to maintain the Medicare program and private insurers' policy to pay doctors the same rate for virtual consults as in-person visits, among other things. Practitioners have seen telemedicine benefiting patients and doctors, with virtual consults mitigating confusion for patients while giving busy clinicians a more convenient communications tool. Meanwhile, specialists like orthopedic surgeons are taking advantage of virtual visits for post-operation follow-up consults.
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