COVID-19 Crisis Creates Telemedicine Boom
// By Wendy Stark Healy //
As COVID-19 creates chaos throughout the U.S. healthcare system, caring for people with other illnesses and routine provider appointments presents a challenge. Scheduled appointments or wellness visits are being canceled because of social distancing mandates or state lockdowns, and providers aren’t sure how or when to accept new patients.
Patients with chronic illnesses who can’t wait out the 15-day “Stop the Spread” mandate need special consideration. Consumers with a behavioral health condition, for example, may not be able to keep routine appointments, which may add to their anxiety. Communication and patient engagement are key.
“People who need care outside of COVID-19 need a safe environment to receive timely care,” says Puneet Maheshwari, CEO and co-founder of DocASAP, a patient access and engagement platform for health systems, health plans, and provider groups. “The same goes for providers. They’re on the frontlines delivering care with the risk of exposure. Providers need alternative ways to care for patients with chronic and acute conditions during these challenging times.”
The best way providers and hospital systems can respond is with telehealth, providing virtual care remotely by phone, video, chat, and other technology. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has broadened coverage for telehealth visits during this crisis.
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