On Wednesday, May 6, JLF’s Jordan Roberts joined Dr. Nichol Turner Lee of the Brookings Institution, Ross Friedberg of Doctor on Demand, and Dana Lichtenberg of the American Medical Association for a discussion of telehealth before and after COVID-19.
To open the webinar, Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission gave his remarks on telehealth and connectivity in America. He discussed the FCC COVID-19 telehealth program which aims to provide $200 million in funding to help health care providers provide connected care services in response to coronavirus.
Following Pai’s remarks, Dr. Nichol Turner Lee kicked it off to Jordan Roberts to defined three terms: telemedicine, telehealth, and digital health. Roberts explained the terms as they were explained in his recently released research piece in collaboration with Dr. Nichol Turner Lee and Jack Karsten of Center for Technology Innovation. Roberts explained:
“Telehealth is one of the most broad terms used to describe all types of technology and telecommunications in healthcare… Telemedicine is a more narrow term that describes care that is delivered in a clinical setting is now delivered by telecommunications at a distance… Digital health describes things such as a Fitbit where the patient is more at the helm and in control of the technology.”
In the piece, the authors explain the future of telemedicine:
The world will probably not return to the normalcy it once experienced before COVID-19—and neither should health care. As Congress is charged with re-evaluating the leniencies permitted to health-care providers during this crisis, federal lawmakers should also see the benefits. The same holds true for states that will need to reconsider lifting boundaries on telehealth services to accelerate its transformational capabilities for patients and doctors.
In the webinar, Ross Friedberg discussed Doctors on Demand and mentioned how telehealth transcends borders. He discussed how varying coverage for telehealth has been difficult. Some people are covered for telemedicine under their insurance, some aren’t, and some are only under specific circumstances. He discussed the fact that Medicare now covers telemedicine, and how that opens the door for many people to access a doctor from home.