Telehealth is here to stay. As we continue to watch it taking hold and further shaking up the industry, here is our monthly roundup of today’s important healthcare topics and trends in telehealth. This month, we look at how telehealth helps improve equity and diversity in healthcare, what a hybrid healthcare system looks like, and how the industry must evolve to meet patient and industry needs.
COVID-19 has led to a widespread shuttering of traditional primary care offices, not to mention increased burnout and more emphasis on the role that technology plays in helping provide care. But can telehealth really replace primary care as a first line of defense? Read more here.
Critics are beginning to cast doubts on telehealth to build patient-provider relationships, provide holistic care, and reduce care costs. Hill Ferguson, CEO of Doctor on Demand, argues however that telehealth has proved the opposite – that if telehealth is able to evolve, it will reduce costs, streamline care, and help build clinician networks to grow clinician diversity. Read more here.
Healthcare IT News
Several telehealth organizations have come together to form the Telehealth Equity Coalition, which will advocate for greater equity in access to virtual care. While telehealth has helped alleviate some stark disparities in the healthcare industry, it has also made others worse, revealing the role that housing, transportation, and internet access have on someone’s ability to receive care. Read more here.
Hybrid healthcare systems are quickly becoming the future model of healthcare as hospitals continue to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic while still providing general care; Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center transitioned 50% of its volume to telehealth almost overnight. In addition to hybrid systems, hospitals are leveraging the power of smart devices to enhance telehealth visits and increase the value that telehealth can provide for patients. Read more here.
The rising adoption of telehealth has made healthcare more accessible and inclusive of women, the LGBT community and communities of color. Compared to traditional healthcare systems, telehealth has made it easier for these communities to get access to care, receive specialized treatment, and encourage those who normally don’t seek out treatment to get the help they need. Read more here.