The coronavirus pandemic has been exposing unnecessary routines in many industries. In health care, the battlefield shift to telehealth is teaching us a lot. After all, does it really make sense to drive to see a doctor for a urinary tract infection, for example, where a hands-on exam may not be required?
Consider our current system of calling to set an appointment, driving and navigating a parking garage, signing in and waiting in a lobby to see a doctor for the 15 minutes it would take just to get a basic prescription? Add to that the expensive medical non-transparent pricing-billing-collections game that drives people crazy.
Of course, an in-person appointment makes sense if you need a hands-on exam, but for many conditions and quick follow-ups, telehealth is far less expensive and reduces the lost productive time for many Americans.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many doctor visits and elective procedures have been postponed as the health care system scrambles to combat the virus. As a temporizing measure, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services used a waiver to authorizetelemedicine expansion for approximately 60 million Medicare beneficiaries.