Tele-Health is a powerful tool in ensuring equitable healthcare delivery.
Tele-health leads to equitable healthcare access.
Telehealth, teletherapy, and other forms of virtual care delivery saw a significant increase in usage during the COVID-19 pandemic as patients turned to telehealth to maintain social distancing while still accessing care. Though the concept of telehealth is not new, the in-person restrictions placed on patients and providers during the pandemic, coupled with the federal government’s relaxing of telehealth rules as part of its COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, made virtual care an appealing option. Especially in the early stages of the pandemic, providers shifted to telehealth services to expand access to care, limit disease exposure for staff and patients, and reduce the patient demand on facilities.
Today, telehealth and other forms of virtual visits are increasingly seen as an integral part of healthcare infrastructure, with ongoing implications for both direct-to-patient care and broader community-level preparedness efforts. Telehealth is a powerful tool to help lead us to a more equitable healthcare distribution system, allowing at-risk and vulnerable populations more opportunities to receive healthcare. The rapid adoption of and growing comfort with telehealth that was catalyzed in part by the pandemic now means that telehealth services can be more easily incorporated into disaster planning and post-crisis response strategies.