Telehealth has been available for a while, but it hasn’t been something most people used. But now that use has skyrocketed amid the coronavirus pandemic, with many patients not able to have in-person visits because of the shutdowns, it may remain common even after the pandemic ends. The increase in telehealth visits – including video visits, phone calls, emails, and texts, has been boosted during the pandemic by the decision to cover them by Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurers.
Now that more patients and doctors have had experience doing them, it’s likely to remain much more used. However, in-person visits are still needed sometimes, including for more complex conditions. Eric Schneider, senior vice president for policy and research at the Commonwealth Fund, said he expects that even once the pandemic is over, doctors will create “hybrid practices” that mix telehealth and office visits.