Conventional wisdom has it that recent expansions in coverage of telehealth will never be fully reversed. The addition of artificial intelligence (AI) into telehealth could solve several issues faced by doctors and hospitals. There is some concern, however, that the blending of AI and telehealth will industrialize the practice of medicine, dissuading patients from seeking critically needed care.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee met again June 23 to discuss the federal government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and one clear signal that emerged from the hearing is that Congress will have to provide annual funding to build a sustainable infrastructure for vaccine development and manufacture if the nation is to deal appropriately with the next pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled an unprecedented uptick in telehealth use, from medical and behavioral health services to remote patient monitoring, as federal and state regulators have relaxed certain policy restrictions to increase access to care. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) recommended in a Senate hearing that certain temporary policy changes, such as elimination of the “originating site” rule and expansion of Medicare- and Medicaid-covered telehealth services, should be lasting to ensure patients retain health care access when the crisis is over.