Will coronavirus boost prominence of telemedicine?

Only about 10% of Americans have actually used telemedicine for virtual visits with their doctors. But the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, could change that, according to a March 3, 2020 Time article.

The article noted that numerous companies in the telemedicine industry have begun touting their ability to facilitate coronavirus-related appointments via smartphone, tablet, or computer. However, Michael Barnett, assistant professor of health policy and management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that the companies and health systems will still have to navigate a “thicket of state laws and regulations that make telemedicine very complex…to implement broadly.”

Barnett said whether uptake of telemedicine will increase in response to coronavirus will depend on whether lawmakers are willing to relax or streamline regulations.

Read the Time article: The Coronavirus Outbreak Could Finally Make Telemedicine Mainstream in the U.S.