Will telehealth become part of the new normal? Coronavirus has made virtual visits into a mainstream part of health care. And, telehealth is on a path to change the industry as we know it. Here are some perspectives on the future of telehealth, along with news about the impact it's already having.
A pandemic benefit: the expansion of telemedicine from The New York Times
With telemedicine on the rise, patients now have access to faster diagnoses, more efficient care, and less stressful doctors' visits. Virtual care provides a way for physicians to talk to patients and assess their reported symptoms, which is already an important part of how illnesses and injuries are diagnosed. As for the future of the service, doctors say many of their patients now using telemedicine will likely want to continue, even if it will never be able to replace in-person visits.
Optum expands number of behavioral telehealth providers from Healthcare Finance
Optum says by the end of March, 33% of all care was shifted to telehealth to meet care demand during the coronavirus pandemic when in-person visits have been put on hold. In March, Optum began to recruit new providers and accelerate approvals of providers interested in offering virtual care through its online platform. Since then, the number of providers participating in their network has increased by more than 45%, bringing the number of certified virtual visit providers to more than 10,000.
Microsoft recently announced plans to expand cloud-based software for hospitals and health care organizations. The new package will be called "Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare" and will make it easier for hospitals to create and maintain records of patient interactions, both in person and online.
As an example, this software could give health care providers a record of patients' online chat interactions, service agent calls, and virtual visits. This could make for more integrated care, and a better overall view of patient health.
Webinar: How to Combat Stress with Good Nutrition
Join AllWays Health Partners’ Manager of Wellness Programs, Lisa-Beth Doyle, and Your Care Circle Nutritionist, Kara Maloney MS, RD, CDE to learn how a healthy diet can help counter the impact of stress on your mind and body. Sign up now to attend.