For millions of people with limited access to healthcare, telehealth has been a critical part of keeping patients connected to doctors. As the recent COVID-19 pandemic has caused many facilities to limit patients or shut down altogether, it’s becoming clear that telehealth is no longer a “nice to have,” but a need: Telehealth is healthcare.
Since the development of modern telehealth programs in the early 1990s, the potential for healthcare centers to expand into rural areas with telehealth programs has grown steadily. Fast forward almost three decades and telehealth now represents 13 to 17 percent of care delivery across all specialties, confirming the need to create a two-channel healthcare system that balances in-person and virtual care.
Telehealth Helps to Expand Services
This week, IDS celebrates Telehealth Awareness Week along with a growing coalition to help support the mission behind the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). Since 1993, the ATA has worked towards ensuring that everyone has access to safe, affordable, and appropriate care when and where they need it.
By striving towards these goals, IDS has helped dozens of healthcare systems build and grow their telehealth practices and services. Here are a few examples of our success:
• Allina Health Care is able to serve more rural communities strategically with video conferencing and data analytics.
• Akron Children’s Hospital uses telehealth as an early intervention program for remote families with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
• NorthShore University Health System uses telehealth to access more patients and specialists and spends less time traveling between hospitals.
Telehealth is Healthcare
During Telehealth Awareness Week, IDS is joining a range of stakeholders, including leaders in healthcare and patient advocacy, in highlighting the growing acceptance and value of virtual care. Through our collective efforts, we have a special opportunity to deliver new informational resources to support broader access to telehealth for patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers. We encourage everyone to help us build telehealth awareness this September and amplify our most important message: Telehealth is Health!
To learn more about activities planned for Telehealth Awareness Week and opportunities to participate, visit the official Telehealth Awareness Week website here: TelehealthAwareness.org.