Yes, COVID-19 changed telemedicine use — but it's complicated
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic spurred an increase in telemedicine use. As Americans were reluctant to venture out of their homes in the pandemic’s early months, both public and private payers were quick to change telehealth reimbursement policies as admissions plummeted.
According to new research published in the February edition of Health Affairs, 30.1% of all outpatient visits were provided via telemedicine from January 2020 to June 2020. The weekly number of telemedicine visits rose by a 23-fold increase during the same time period.
Prior to 2020, telehealth hadn’t yet become a mainstream avenue of care despite the technology being in place for at least a decade. As COVID-19 vaccines are deployed and mutations spread, a question remains whether telemedicine will finally become a popular care delivery option.
On this episode of A Health Podyssey, Alan Weil interviews Dr. Michael Barnett, from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Sadiq Patel, from Harvard Medical School, on their research published in Health Affairs, how specialty care providers are adopting telemedicine, the speed of their research, and where the telemedicine field may be heading.