While telehealth is nothing new, its adoption was accelerated during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now with the pandemic subsiding, many are wondering how telehealth may change without regulatory waivers and the necessity to stay home. To start, let’s establish that telehealth will not be disappearing from healthcare. But let’s take an in-depth look at how telehealth has changed over the past couple of years, and where it’s likely to go moving forward.
Telehealth Before Covid
Prior to the pandemic, telehealth coverage was limited. According to an American Well Telehealth Index 2019 Physician Survey, 77% of providers flagged less than adequate reimbursement as a contributing factor in their hesitance to adopt telehealth. This low reimbursement was in part because Medicare had regulations regarding patients’ place of residence, offering telehealth coverage only for those living in a rural area, and then only if they travelled to a specific facility.
Exponential growth of telehealth was expected even before widespread adoption was taking place. The pandemic simply accelerated the rate at which that growth happened, helping telehealth to become much more common in a short period of time.
How Did the Pandemic Accelerate Telehealth Growth?
As Covid-19 necessitated the shutdown of many businesses, even some medical practices, telehealth became the lifeline that allowed patient care to continue. This was made possible as Congress passed the CARES Act, expanding Medicare’s telehealth coverage.
New solutions were quickly implemented while existing programs were expanded. . This was driven by providers using telehealth during the early days of the pandemic as it was essential to reducing Covid spread. This accelerated spin-up of telehealth allowed providers and patients alike to experience the real benefits of virtual care firsthand.
What is Expected for Telehealth as We Move Past the Pandemic?
As we move past the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for telehealth is likely to continue to grow, albeit more slowly than it did in early 2020. Consumer adoption of telehealth rose to 46% as . From this solid foundation, a sevenfold growth rate is expected by 2025. What this means, is that providers who launched telehealth in response to Covid should now begin to move from reaction to proactive strategy for their virtual care program. , although some limitations may return as pandemic-era waivers discontinue. The reality is patients value convenience and efficiency. This is why Amazon has so many loyal customers and curbside pickup is likely to continue long after Covid has become a memory. Telehealth provides this same kind of experience. So, moving forward, providers should embrace telehealth in as many circumstances as possible to continue to see its benefits and advance healthcare into the future.
The bottom line is that telehealth isn’t just a pandemic darling. While Covid-19 sent it on a quick rise to prominence, that only accelerated the inevitable. Now that it’s here, it’s here to stay, so it’s time to make sure you have a solution that will support your practice as you provide this convenience for your patients. Explore the links below to see how SolutionsHub can guide your telehealth implementation and growth.