Political Parties Should Come Together to Expand Telehealth Access

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care providers and lawmakers have worked diligently to bring innovative technologies and treatments to the front lines in the fight against the virus. 

One of those critical tools has been telehealth, which allows patients to access their preferred physicians from the safety and comfort of their own homes, often using video conferencing, email, and store-and-forward technology.

This technology has not only kept Americans safer by allowing them to receive medical care remotely, it has also been proven to dramatically reduce the cost of health care. That’s why, despite our ideological differences on health care policy issues, my organization has come together with the Progressive Policy Institute to urge state and federal policymakers to support the regulatory reforms that will expand telemedicine access.

If we can partner on this nonpartisan issue, there should be nothing preventing lawmakers around the nation from doing the same.

Since the pandemic hit American shores, the popularity of telehealth has exploded. Nearly one in two consumers nationally has used telehealth to replace a cancelled in-person appointment.

In April of this year, just 32 percent of Americans had ever used telehealth. Less than a month later, that number jumped to 44 percent.

Furthermore, a majority believe they will continue to use telehealth when the pandemic ends. 

These facts aren’t surprising. Telehealth offers patients quality care on par or better than in-person appointments. Using remote care, patients can eliminate the risk of infection from those lengthy waiting-room visits. 

Additionally, doctors can help low-risk patients recover at home, while encouraging patients in need of more advanced care to visit the hospital. This is a strategy that, according to the CDC, will save critical hospital resources.

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