The advent of COVID-19 forced health professionals to think innovatively to facilitate timely care while maintaining compliance with shelter-in-place ordinances. Health systems scrambled to implement and scale virtual modalities of care delivery, including telehealth, and experienced both successes and unique challenges. Regulatory and legislative actions increased access to telehealth through expanded provider eligibility, payment parity, site neutrality and relaxed state licensure policies. But current public health emergency (PHE) waivers and associated flexibilities are at risk of sunsetting if legislation is not passed to make them permanent.
NCQA convened the following roundtable titled The Future of Telehealth Roundtable: The Potential Impact of Emerging Technologies on Health Equity in order to help identify barriers that individuals experience in the receipt of this care delivery mode, while also providing some solutions to these issues. A case-based approach was utilized during the roundtable, as panelists discussed three unique scenarios that shed light on different equity issues related to telehealth.
Panelists identified three overarching opportunities to promote equitable access to telehealth:
- Tailoring Telehealth Use and Access to Individual Preferences and Needs
- Addressing Regulatory, Policy and Infrastructure Barriers to Fair Telehealth Access
- Leveraging Telehealth and Digital Technologies to Promote Equitable Care Delivery
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The Future of Telehealth Roundtable and white paper was supported by Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC.