Patients seem to like remote visits, and health care providers now depend on them. But outages, freezing and other glitches cost time and money, and compromise quality of care.
Millions of older adults want to be comfortable going online and using digital tools to enhance their lives. But many need help. A number of groups around the country offer assistance.
Phone visits became an option for many Medicare and Medicaid patients during the pandemic. Now policymakers are deciding whether they’re worth the money.
Pressure is mounting on Congress and the Biden administration to make permanent pandemic-inspired rules that fueled telehealth growth. Some fear fraud and ballooning costs.
Public health restrictions put in place during the pandemic are loosening, meaning it’s OK to go back to your doctor’s office. But will virtual visits remain an option?
No-shows for behavioral health appointments have been a long-standing problem, with up to 60% skipped. Now telehealth, fueled by the pandemic, makes it easier for people dealing with depression and other mental health issues to make it to their appointments at a time when such care is in high demand. But teletherapy creates other challenges.
The covid pandemic drove major changes to Montana health policies, including the permanent expansion of telehealth regulations, a pullback on local public health officials’ authority and the easing of vaccination requirements for workers and students.
The pandemic has demonstrated that virtual medicine is great for simple visits. But many new types of telemedicine promoted by start-ups more clearly benefit providers’ and investors’ pockets, rather than yielding more convenient, high-quality and cost-effective medicine for patients.
In 2015, St. Louis-based Mercy health system opened what officials called the world’s first “hospital without beds.” Since the pandemic, Mercy has incorporated telehealth throughout its system, part of a national acceleration in virtual care that proponents laud but critics say is happening too fast.
Health provider conflicts, fraud and access disparity temper the covid telehealth revolution.