Use of Telehealth Services Increases Amid Pandemic

They say in any crisis, one sound is opportunity knocking. COVID-19 certainly seems to have found telehealth’s door. No one is cheerleading for the pandemic, but the telehealth industry and its observers have been surprised by how quickly the healthcare system has pivoted to telehealth and providing care remotely. The course of the outbreak and its consequences are far from certain, but one of the lasting effects may be a fundamental shift in how American healthcare is delivered. Future research will show more definitively what telehealth accomplished during the COVID-19 outbreak, but Barnett believes it has helped with social distancing. Patients with issues that aren’t related to COVID-19 can be seen in a way that adheres to self-isolation rules and guidances. Perhaps some infected patients have been kept out of clinics and doctor offices. Barnett notes some healthcare providers may inadvertently serve as “super spreaders” of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, so telehealth may have prevented some provider-to-patient transmission.