The 14 federally funded regional TRCs have seen an enormous uptick in requests for assistance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers received 4,039 requests, total, from providers looking for technical assistance or for more information about telehealth.
This year, the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center, one of the 14 U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration-funded regional TRCs around the country, saw 439 inquiries in March and April alone – an 800% increase from the same time period the previous year.
“Everybody’s been drinking from the fire hose,” said Kathy Wibberly, director of the Mid-Atlantic TRC, in a recent presentation for HIMSS20 Digital.
Telehealth has been available to providers and patients in varying capacities for decades. But because of payer difficulties, licensing hurdles or just plain lack of interest from patients, the majority of providers haven’t used it.
After COVID-19, however, “all of the barriers and excuses for not using telehealth … were suddenly eliminated,” said Wibberly.
During their talk, HRSA-funded Telehealth Resource Centers and COVID-19, Wibberly and her cohost, Danielle Louder, explained to providers who might be struggling or who just want to know more that TRCs have a host of resources, including webinars, for their use.