Dec 21 2021

Maintaining the Enthusiasm for Telehealth

What will telehealth look like beyond the COVID-19 pandemic? Providers hope to keep the momentum going.

Some 91 percent of healthcare providers globally rely on virtual care capabilities, with most of them implementing telehealth during the pandemic, according to a 2021 survey from Arlington Research commissioned by Kaspersky.  

As telehealth develops into a key component of hybrid care delivery, building and strengthening patients’ trust is a critical part of informing a robust virtual care program. According to the survey, 52 percent of frontline providers have experienced instances where patients have declined a video visit because of privacy or data concerns, or lack of trust in the technology. And 34 percent of telehealth providers agree that poor video or photo quality affected a clinician’s diagnosis.

Despite the ongoing challenges connected to the use of telehealth, 71 percent of providers agree the service will add the most value to the industry over five years compared with other technology. 

To maintain enthusiasm for telehealth beyond the pandemic, 16 U.S. healthcare organizations launched Telehealth Access for America, a public education campaign that aims to keep telehealth access open and calls for Capitol Hill to preserve the advances made during the health crisis.

RELATED: Find out how NASA is providing virtual care to astronauts in space.

“Access to telehealth is vital to Americans’ well-being and quality of life. Flexibility provided by policymakers during the pandemic led to greater use of telehealth services, made possible by providers’ investments in these tools,” American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack said in a December 2021 statement. “Without action from Congress, millions of Americans who have come to rely on telehealth services will lose access to the care they value.”

Strong, sustainable partnerships make for better virtual care deployment. At a panel session during the HLTH 2021 conference, Lou Silverman, CEO of telehealth services provider Hicuity Health, highlighted the importance of “relentless incrementalism” and meeting hospitals where they are.

“Change is something not to be feared but embraced, and it’s a necessity,” Silverman said.

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