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Telemedicine’s Tipping Point

Telehealth experts say that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, video visits have crossed a tipping point to become a mainstream way to obtain health care. According to Mei Wa Kwong, executive director of PHI’s Center for Connected Health Policy, many temporary changes that have allowed greater adoption of telehealth during the pandemic will likely become permanent.

  • Knowable Magazine
a drawing of a man in a phone looking ill while a doctor in another phone looks at him

In the month before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Boston, the area’s Partners Healthcare health system treated 1,600 patients via video visits. By April, the number of their patients seeking video health care services had swelled to 242,000.

Experts say that regardless of when the Covid-19 threat dissipates, video visits have crossed a tipping point to become a mainstream way to obtain health care. Within weeks after the COVID-19 crisis hit, hundreds of federal and state telemedicine rules were changed — in most cases, temporarily — to make it easier for health care providers to adopt telehealth.

According to Mei Wa Kwong, executive director of PHI’s Center for Connected Health Policy, many temporary changes that have allowed greater adoption of telehealth during the pandemic will likely become permanent.

 

“I don’t think all of these relaxations will stick around, but I don’t think we will revert back to what we had before Covid-19…. Now that ordinary people are getting a crash course in telehealth, that this how you can receive health-care services, they will be become an important voice post-Covid-19 that will make it a little harder for policymakers to ignore.” Mei Wa Kwong, executive director, Center for Connected Health Policy.

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Originally published by Knowable Magazine


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