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article imageTelehealth booms amid the COVID-19 pandemic

By Tim Sandle     Jul 13, 2020 in Health
Telehealth and related digital health solutions have seen a large uptake during the coronavirus pandemic. In turn, this has seen an upscale of investment in digital health startups.
Telehealth (or telemedicine) and off-shoots like teletherapy have become increasingly popular during the coronavirus era. Telehealth has introduced significant change to the dynamics of health care, in 2020 and the expansion and evolution of the sector is set to continue.
COVID-19 solution
Turning to telehealth to gain medical advice is something that has become very popular during the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has also paved the way for patients who a located in geographically remote areas to access health advice in real-time, demonstrating the convenience and effectiveness of digital health options.
The solution has been eased by a lifting of some of the regulations that shape how telehealth is delivered. Federal regulations, for example, were lifted in terms of ease of access, including the requirement for all telehealth visits to take place at federally qualified originating sites. This helped to liberalize the market across the peak of the coronavirus. These changes were enacted by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Beating stress
As an example of the application of telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic, The Salt Lake School District has launched a telehealth program that offers help to students suffering emotional stress during pandemic. The aim is to address isolation, sadness, anxiety, depression among the student population.
Increased use
Within the U.S., one metric accounting for the growth in telehealth services is FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, which draws upon a database of over 31 billion private health care claim records in order to track the month-by-month expansion in telehealth. These data show how telehealth claim lines increased 8,336 percent within the U.S. during the beginning of coronavirus concerns, climbing from 0.15 percent of medical claim lines in April 2019 to 13 percent in April 2020.
Future prospects
In terms of where telehealth is heading next in terms of growth, a Harris Poll Consumer Experience Index has revealed that 65 percent of U.S. consumers said they plan to use telehealth more after the pandemic. In addition, and 78 percent of those polled said COVID-19 has shown the extent that the U.S. needs more telehealth options.
While these examples show how telehealth is growing and some of the applications, telehealth is not yet in a position to provide a universal solution. Many people still do not have Internet connections, or have connections that are reliable; furthermore, some older people express concerns with using the tehcnology.
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