Coronavirus BRIEFING

How Telehealth’s Surge Is Impacting Health Care Providers

The MedData Group recently published an infographic that illustrated how telehealth has surged during the pandemic, and why it is rapidly becoming a central component in health care systems nationwide.

As MedData points out, “The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has left the nation’s healthcare system grappling with a widespread public health crisis on a scale not seen since the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918. The highly contagious nature of the coronavirus has made frontline healthcare workers, including Physicians, Physician Assistants, and Nurse Practitioners, dangerously vulnerable to contracting the virus themselves as they provide care to the over 1.25 million Americans seeking treatment. Fortunately for HCPs, the expansion of telehealth, or telemedicine, has shifted into hyper-drive in response to the pandemic. To expand patient and provider access, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well has many private insurers, have moved swiftly to waive the reimbursement restrictions, interstate regulations, and out-of-pocket costs that have historically acted as barriers to telehealth’s widespread adoption.

As a result, prominent healthcare systems throughout the country have reported unprecedented surges in telehealth encounters, with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) for example reporting a 35-fold increase from March to April 2020. The response to COVID-19 will likely permanently entrench telehealth services on the frontlines of patient care.

To create its infographic MedData polled 275 U.S. physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who shared their thoughts on the impact of the expansion of telehealth related technology on their practices, patients, and prescribing behaviors both now and in the future.