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A Timeline of the Telehealth Revolution in 2020

by Heidi Bullman

The pandemic undoubtedly marked the start of a telehealth revolution. Since then, healthcare systems have embrace telehealth and there’s widespread demand for future telehealth initiatives and the technologies that fuel it. Looking at a timeline of 2020 in healthcare, there’s no doubt that telehealth became a critical component of patient care and will remain of importance in 2021.

Today’s Public Health Crisis Marks the Beginning of Widespread Telehealth Use (APRIL 2020)

At the beginning of the pandemic, it became evident that the widespread use of telehealth was helping to set the stage for the new normal. “For some health systems, like the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), telehealth isn’t new. But in the wake of the novel coronavirus, a number of new healthcare organizations are adopting telecommunication-based and electronic health services to continue to deliver care to patients amidst widespread stay-at-home orders. While this rapid deployment of telemedicine has happened quickly, it appears to be [here for good].”

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Telehealth’s Immediate and Lasting Value (MAY 2020)

The temporary relaxation of telehealth restrictions helped to accelerate adoption even more. However, there were still additional concerns needing to be addressed including “patient identification and tracking, to managing communications between sites, to the impact of remote workers and how they can protect data and meet compliance requirements. Beyond those, the infrastructure requirements for securely delivering data from any location to any device [needed attention]. [After all], a doctor can’t accurately diagnose a condition if the image feed freezes or if lab data can’t be shared or retrieved. At the heart of a reliable, robust, and relevant telehealth program is an equally robust and reliable data management infrastructure.

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What do CIOs Want to See from Telehealth Apps? (SEPTEMBER 2020)

Now that telehealth has been widespread, areas of improvement have become noticeable. “Now that we’ve all had half a year to get used to the idea, the advantages of the modality are clear, as are the areas in which it still needs to improve. Chief information officers undoubtedly are some of the best informed when it comes to the ways that innovation could fill existing gaps in virtual care.

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