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  • Writer's pictureStephen Randall

It’s Nothing To Do With Covid.

Why are we still talking about telehealth through the lens of the pandemic?



Isn’t it time we talked about telehealth without looking at it through the lens of COVID?

 

We know that the pandemic significantly accelerated telehealth’s adoption and yes, we also know that virtual exams fell back once the crisis was under control. The defense that telehealth has many more users today than before the pandemic misses the point… 

 

Virtual care is “table stakes” in healthcare.

 

In a climate where it’s easier to grab headlines doomscrolling, it’s lazy thinking to use falling demand from peak Covid or examples of market missteps such as Teladoc overpaying for Livongo or the rise and fall of Bablyon Health as support for telehealth’s demise. Those headlines miss the fundamentals of telehealth’s long-term prognosis. Telehealth is here to stay.


Telehealth provides access to medical services for individuals living in remote or underserved regions, where healthcare facilities may be scarce. There are  currently over 50 million Americans living more than hour from a doctor or hospital. But it’s not just rural patients who can’t get to a doctor – good luck getting an appointment with your doctor in less than 2 weeks in most cities.

 

Telehealth offers patients reduced travel and wait times making healthcare more convenient and efficient. The same logic that drives a digital-first experience in retail, finance, media and other markets applies just as equally to healthcare.

 

Regular monitoring of chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease can be conducted over telehealth, enabling timely interventions and better disease management – and need not adversely impact billings (always an elephant in the room).


Outside of the average 4 times a year a patient visits their doctor, data for the 361 other days are being ignored, sometimes resulting in life and death situations. As stated in Rock Health’s ninth annual Consumer Adoption Survey, virtual care is “table stakes” in healthcare.


Telehealth will be a major part of everyone’s healthcare experience and it shouldn’t take a pandemic to make that obvious.


References and further reading:

Assessing Telehealth Through the Lens of the Provider: Considerations for the Post-COVID-19 Era


Rock Health’s ninth annual Consumer Adoption Survey

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