Telehealth connects patients to vital health care services through video conferencing, remote monitoring, electronic consults and wireless communications.
By increasing access to physicians and specialists, telehealth helps ensure patients receive the right care, at the right place, at the right time.
Currently, 65 percent of U.S. hospitals connect with patients and consulting practitioners at a distance through the use of video and other technology.
Almost every state Medicaid program has some form of coverage for telehealth services and private payers are embracing coverage for telehealth services. However, there are barriers to wide adoption of telehealth. For example, Medicare limits coverage and payment for telehealth services, lagging behind other payers. In addition, limited access to adequate broadband services hampers the ability of some rural facilities to deploy telehealth. The challenge of cross-state licensure looms as a major issue. Other policy and operational issues include credentialing and privileging, online prescribing, privacy and security, and fraud and abuse. The federal government needs to do more to increase use of telehealth.
This fact sheet outlines the issues.