As we march through this pandemic, the ways in which we live our daily lives have changed drastically. One of these ways is the adoption of telehealth technology for non-essential primary-care visits. In March alone, telehealth visits were up 4346.94% compared to March 2019. The quickly expanding scale of telehealth on medical computers is astonishing, but can it keep up?
While telehealth on medical computers has seen a drastic rise in use since the beginning of the pandemic, it has only done so due to an all-hands-on-deck effort by the federal government, insurance companies, and local hospitals. Will these support systems remain after this pandemic has been curbed?
Nothing is concrete as of yet, however there are promising signs that show that telehealth on medical computers is here to stay. For one, reopenings around the country are being put on pause as case numbers increase. This will inevitably require telehealth to be in use longer, and for it to become more normalized.
Patients are already seeing the benefits of using telehealth on medical computers versus going to the hospital in person, and it is unlikely this pandora’s box will be able to be closed. Given that patients are enjoying telehealth visits, this cultural shift may necessitate permanent changes that allow for broader telehealth use.
A new upcoming Medicare payment rule includes a plan to permanently expand reimbursement for telehealth services. This would allow the medical computer based system to stay long after the pandemic, as patients would have the costs of these appointments partially covered. However, other branches of government would have to get onboard to make the temporary changes elsewhere permanent.
Not only do patients and the government want telehealth on medical computers to be a permanent option for hospital visits, but it may soon be necessary. The country is soon to face a shortage of primary-care physicians. We could be lacking as many as 122,000 physicians by 2032.
Telehealth on medical computers offers a promising solution, allowing doctors to see more patients remotely than they would in person. Telehealth appointments could potentially solve this shortage, and keep our medical system running smoothly.
The sudden increase of telehealth use has had a lasting impact on the way we view medical appointments. With all signs pointing to telehealth on medical computers being normalized, it is looking more likely that virtual primary care via telehealth is around the corner.