by Scott Morris, DO, YPS Member At Large (Family Medicine)
The expansion of Telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic has been amazing for patient care! The ability to meet remotely has opened new possibilities for physicians and their patients. Patients, once too anxious to come outside amidst pandemic worry, are now able to seek care from the comfort of their own home. Patients can be evaluated sooner, receive medication refills and even discuss their mood with the trusted physician.
Further, allowing physicians to practice across state lines through this medium frees patients to travel, escape to warmer weather or to pursue higher education. These same patients are now able to continue to see one physician to follow their care. Removing the restrictions from this proven HIPPA compliant service have allowed patients that live in distant locations to access specialist care and thrive in their communities without being restricted by their limited internet service.
We will see how these allowances evolve as pandemic wanes. However, I feel strongly that the physician-patient relationship has been changed for the better through this expansion of TeleHealth and we should encourage all involved—including insurance companies—to further incentivize and increase access to these valuable services long into the future.
For more detailed information about Telehealth changes during the COVID pandemic and what’s to come, keep an eye on updates at OSMA Telehealth summary page.