Telehealth use, which had been extremely limited before the pandemic, surged after the Trump administration declared COVID-19 a public health emergency (PHE) in mid-March and in-person patient visits declined drastically.
One of the telehealth’s biggest potential impacts, experts say, is to make care more widely accessible since it eliminates the need for travel to a doctor’s office. Indeed, with site restrictions on its use suspended, some doctors are already experiencing this.
“It has provided opportunities for patients to overcome barriers like lack of transportation, and it gives me more options for virtual follow-ups if I have concerns about changes in a patient’s health status,” Leon McDougle, M.D. says.
Expanded use of telehealth in a post-pandemic environment could also mean more dependence on remote devices and health apps to monitor common indicators such as blood pressure, pulse, and A1C levels that clinicians routinely obtain during in-person visits.
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