According to the report, the providers and policymakers need to think about health equity to ensure help with virtual care for everyone.
Telehealth has recently experienced a very sudden and massive growth after starting a year ago. However, it didn’t take place everywhere. According to a report from RAND Corporation, it is suggesting that the biggest up sticks in telehealth availability are occurring in the metropolitan communities. These telemedicine services are most useful for patients with private insurance.
The study regarding Who is Receiving Telemedicine Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic is adding a substantial body of evidence. It is quite clear that public health emergencies are facing disparities in assessment and with the use of technology-based healthcare.
For the report, RAND researchers opted for examining insurance claims from more than 6M people. It also includes employer-based health care insurances. They examined the number of care encounters and various types of services that are received by the enrollees in the last year.
In the findings, RAND is pointing out a twentyfold increase in the telehealth visits that started in March 2020. The boost in virtual care is having the experience of most of the patients in counties with lower poverty levels.
There are 50 visits per 10000 people in the metro areas. On the other hand, the number is 31 for the visits per 10000 people in rural areas. There is an existing concert that this pandemic is going to exacerbate the remaining disparities in the utilization of healthcare and telehealth.
Few national studies are also examining the changes in telehealth use during the pandemic. Disparities in access for caring are having a long pervade, which includes geography, income, age, race, and ethnicity. This pandemic is exposing similar disparities in the utilization of telehealth by low income in the ZIP code of the patient.
To help this, policymakers are going to continue with the expansion of reimbursement for telehealth services. Also, the update in clinical guidelines is going to encourage healthcare practitioners to use telehealth.
Policymakers are now thinking more about how to address all these challenges. According to Kelly, some Americans cannot afford a phone. But the policymakers are working on it to offer more ease to them.