The majority of specialists during the COVID-19 epidemic increased the use of telehealth technology

 Nearly 80% of cardiologists, gastroenterologists, pulmonologists and respiratory physicians who voted for a new survey say their use of virtual care technology has increased.

In a new survey of US special estates, 79% said that their use of telemedicine technology has increased during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Less than half of the surveyed cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonology and respiratory specialties use telehealth before the epidemic, according to data from analytics firm Global Data.

More than three-quarters of those surveyed said they will continue to use virtual care technology in the future.

Katherine Whitney, director of thematic analysis at Global Data, said: “Telemedicine is important in reducing the risk of transmission from person to person during the COVID-19 epidemic and to reducing the burden on overheated health care systems.

Why it matters

The survey adds another data point to the large increase in the use of telemedicine in the middle of the corona virus epidemic novel. While some health systems have seen tremendous growth, many have focused on easing federal regulations around telehealth to facilitate change.

"As an antitoxin to the plague, the guidelines and approaches administering the reimbursement and utilization of telemedicine have changed altogether, prompting more extensive access and an exceptional interest for these services," Whitney said.

But the uncertainty about those regulations is also a dog for the industry. Special estates of the Global Data Survey pointed to the possibility of future unsupported policies as a reason to discontinue telehealth use after the public health crisis.

“Regulatory changes will be important to improve access to care for low- and rural populations and to provide affordable care for non-insured people,” Whitney said.

Others said they needed to see patients in person to provide the best treatment - again, a surprising response, especially for patients who do not have access to remote monitoring equipment.

The same report revealed that mobile app downloads from Telemedicine have skyrocketed.

For example, the Patient Support app for InTouch Health had about 2,300 downloads in 2019, but more than 22,300 in the second quarter of 2020 alone.

Great propensity

As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread across the country, the number of telehealth visitors has declined somewhat - perhaps due to patients showing less fear of receiving the necessary personal treatment or catching the virus in a healthcare background.

Still, many stakeholders say that COVID-19 does not return to its pre-existing environment in relation to the virtual care landscape. Patients, especially those in the health deserts, have grown to appreciate its convenience, and many providers have been "pleasantly surprised" with the transition.

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