In March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced U.S. organizations to adopt virtual and remote work wherever possible. This was especially true in health care, with hospitals and physician practices needing to clear their waiting rooms and minimize the risk of infections for patients and providers. As a result, Congress and the federal government removed many of the regulatory barriers—at least temporarily—that prevented patients from receiving care through video chats and phone calls.
The latest episode of On the Evidence features a discussion about the rise of telehealth as an alternative to in-person care during the pandemic. Our guests for this episode are Mathematica’s Llew Brown and Diane Rittenhouse as well as Mei Wa Kwong of the Center for Connected Health Policy.
In this episode, we discuss the rapid regulatory, policy, and implementation changes taking place in telehealth, what research has found about the effects of using telehealth, and what the rise of telehealth might mean for health care even after the pandemic. In particular, we focus on the role telehealth could play in supporting primary care, which has taken a severe financial hit since the pandemic began in the United States, and how telehealth could reduce or exacerbate existing health care disparities.
A version of the full episode with closed captioning is available on Mathematica’s YouTube channel here.