Until recently, telehealth services were expensive, rarely available, and often of limited scope and quality. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced a rapid, radical expansion.
To promote the adoption of telehealth services, the Office for Civil Rights within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) relaxed the requirement that providers communicate with patients through HIPAA-compliant platforms. Health care providers took their services online, and novel platforms connecting patients with providers proliferated. In short order, telehealth became more accessible and less expensive. From general practice specialties, such as family medicine, to highly specialized fields, such as dermatology, patients can now access a variety of services through websites and smartphone apps.
But alongside these benefits are challenging, unresolved ethical and legal questions. An overreliance on telehealth may negatively impact patient privacy, quality of care, and health outcomes. Moreover, telehealth services may not be accessible to all patients; some vulnerable populations such as children, seniors, and people with disabilities may be excluded or disadvantaged.
On April 7, join our panel of experts for an exploration of these challenges around promoting access, quality, and privacy when adopting telehealth solutions.
Join the conversation or submit questions on Twitter at @PetrieFlom using #TelehealthBoom.