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Value of telehealth in response to COVID-19

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By Ann Mond Johnson

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) was formed by trailblazing researchers, clinicians and academicians over 25 years ago, but a lot has changed since then ― and certainly with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, the ATA most recently focused on helping organizations accelerate telehealth adoption. The vision was to ensure that people get care where and when they need it, while enabling clinicians to do more good for more people.

The underlying premise is that technology should be used to reimagine care and that it must do more than replace in-person visits with remote visits. Otherwise, we have not realized the full potential or promise of telehealth.

The underlying challenges the U.S. faces are no different from other countries around the world: an aging population, people with multiple comorbid conditions, and inadequate access to clinicians and clinical services.

Further, due to our fee-for-service model, we have a unique challenge: in the U.S., where you live is a big determinant of your health and wellbeing. There is enormous variation in care in the U.S. and the use of telehealth provides an opportunity to reduce that variation.

Telehealth can help to reduce and eventually eliminate variations in accessibility to healthcare, improve cost efficiency and, importantly, advance the quality........

© The Korea Times