Early in the pandemic, health care providers pivoted to telehealth out of necessity. But as policymakers begin to look beyond the pandemic, concerns about telehealth's effects on health care spending and quality will arise again.
John Campbell, professor of general practice and primary care at the University of Exeter, and Brandi Leach, senior analyst at not-for-profit research organisation RAND Europe, discuss how primary care practices can support patients to use digital services.
It would be a powerful conclusion to the pandemic if Americans reimagined a health system that was resilient against future threats, including the resulting psychological trauma. Policymakers have the opportunity now to cut short the pandemic's long tail of mental illness by taking decisive action.
States have made significant policy changes to SUD treatment policies during COVID-19, particularly regarding telehealth and facilitation of remote care. Understanding these changes could help policymakers prioritize guidance during the pandemic and for future health crises.
This is the first study to evaluate the feasibility of using a text messaging-based intervention (TMI) for behavior change with 18–25 year olds experiencing homelessness, and the first to test a TMI to provide ongoing support for smoking cessation.
The pandemic has revealed telemedicine's potential to improve health care delivery and access. Telemedicine could help reach patients who would normally be excluded or alienated by the traditional structure of the health system.
Service members who are geographically remote from a military treatment facility may face unique challenges accessing high-quality behavioral health care. RAND research identified three key priority areas for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Remote service members may face challenges accessing and receiving high-quality behavioral health care through the Military Health System, putting them at a greater risk for negative outcomes related to behavioral health issues.
Remote service members with PTSD, depression, or substance use disorder face challenges accessing high-quality behavioral health care through the Military Health System. They see primary care and private-sector providers for such care and are less likely to receive psychotherapy.
COVID-19 has affected telehealth utilization disproportionately. The increase in telemedicine use was greatest among patients in counties with low poverty levels, among patients in metropolitan areas, and among adults compared with children.
Audio-only health care visits have been instrumental in maintaining access to care during the pandemic. Despite this, coverage for audio-only visits is likely temporary. Devaluing and prematurely casting off a key telemedicine modality could mean the difference between a needed doctor visit and no visit at all.
Although many emergency departments (EDs) have telestroke capacity, it is unclear why some EDs consistently use telestroke and others do not. We compared the characteristics and practices of EDs with robust and low assimilation of telestroke.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, visit volume at a sample of FQHCs declined modestly for primary care visits and remained stable for behavioral health visits because telehealth visits replaced in-person visits.
Telehealth use has surged during the pandemic at clinics that serve lower-income Americans, which allowed the clinics to maintain access to care. But most visits have been audio-only, which may pose challenges if payers consider dropping reimbursement for such services after the pandemic.