The future of telemedicine looks promising, as it has the potential to transform the way healthcare is delivered. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of telemedicine, the challenges it faces, and its future outlook.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were policy changes in 2020 that expanded telehealth services for Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries. Licensure requirements were waived to allow easier access to technology platforms. In 2022, the Bipartisan Policy Center released a report recommending evidence-based federal policies beyond the initial changes from 2020.
The report suggested extending telehealth flexibilities, evaluating hybrid care models, targeting adjustments based on benefits versus risks, protecting and informing users, and making tele-primary care permanent. A new bill introduced in January 2023 would provide coverage for assistive telehealth consultations. Coverage becoming permanent is crucial for improving access to care, especially for those in medical deserts.
When telehealth became crucial in providing patient care, integrating it into electronic health record (EHR) solutions posed immediate challenges. One of the main challenges was ensuring efficient workflow during telehealth visits. Using an EHR system not designed for telehealth resulted in manual record keeping and a lot of time spent switching between platforms.
This took away from the time clinicians spent with patients. However, an integrated EHR and telehealth solution offers numerous benefits, including note integration from telehealth visits, editing patient charts during the call, eliminating the need for multiple systems, accessing all patient data on one screen, and using a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing tool. Additionally, an integrated platform can address security and compliance concerns.
Despite its challenges, the future outlook of telemedicine looks promising. Telemedicine is expected to play an increasingly important role in healthcare delivery in the coming years, as healthcare systems look for ways to improve access to care, reduce costs, and improve healthcare outcomes.
One area where telemedicine is expected to have a significant impact is in chronic disease management. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension are a growing public health concern, and telemedicine can help to improve outcomes for patients with these conditions. Remote monitoring devices can help patients track.