The following is an excerpt from the article “This IT Expert Says Telemedicine Will Be Part of the ‘New Normal’”, an interview with Wavestone Managing Director Doug Smith, published April 17, 2020 on Forbes.com.
Telemedicine has seen slow and steady growth in the U.S. in recent years, with the rise of apps like Doctor on Demand, by which patients with non-life-threatening medical issues can pay for an e-visit with a licensed physician. However, issues with fee reimbursement as well as technology and credentialing hurdles have so far prevented telemedicine from fully entering the mainstream.
The current coronavirus pandemic has changed all this – virtually overnight. Prior to the nationwide outbreak of COVID-19, Medicare enacted strict guidelines that prevented many patients over 65 and those living in rural areas from accessing telemedicine services. As of March 17, 2020, CMS has expanded access to telemedicine, while allowing providers to waive or reduce costs.
While these restrictions have only been temporarily lifted on an emergency basis, some experts believe that COVID-19 has broken the barriers to mainstream telemedicine once and for all. Forbes Technology Council member Douglas Smith is Managing Director at Wavestone, a global consultancy of former technology executives with a focus on leading digital transformation. Smith, who formerly led the Cleveland Clinic’s initial telehealth efforts, says that providers forced to adopt telemedicine in their short-term response to COVID-19 will recognize telemedicine as essential in the long term.
“While the pandemic in the near term is forcing organizations to adopt telemedicine, it is also widening the digital divide and accelerating changes in how care is delivered. To meet this exponential growth, healthcare providers must be prepared to invest in the technology and credentialing required to support telemedicine, or they will be left behind,” Smith said.
To read the complete article, click here.
Managing Director Doug Smith is a Forbes Technology Council Member.
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