• Ariel Chen

Experts See No Turning Back Expansion in Telehealth Post Pandemic

The coronavirus kicked the digitization of the healthcare industry up to light speed, cramming a decade of regulatory change and consumer adoption into roughly a month and a half. States and the federal government hastily cut barriers and 400+ companies angled to use the boost to their advantage. Before the pandemic, McKinsey estimated the total annual revenues of all U.S. telehealth companies at $3 billion. Now, McKinsey projects the sector will be worth $250 billion in the US healthcare market alone in the near future.

As mentioned in our previous blogs, the Trump administration changed more than 30 policies, allowing Medicare to temporarily reimburse telehealth on par with in-office visits and raising payments for audio-only visits. CMS now allows more than 100 additional services through telehealth. Along with the flexibility in regulation and expansion in service areas, the tech revolution shift into virtual medical care is akin to the changing of the guard from the “Blockbuster” to the “Netflix” business model. This is why the current telehealth market can successfully launch early-stage SaaS-based health technology providers, such as MicMD.

Even though changes made during the pandemic are meant to be temporary, seismic shifts are in motion. Members of the congressional advisory group Medicare Payment Advisory Commission seemed to acknowledge that there is no turning back now. Forward-thinking companies should prepare now and remain flexible to quickly adapt their telehealth arrangements post-pandemic. Here are several scenarios to consider. MicMD has been remained flexible and is focusing on:

  1. Evaluate security controls of telehealth technologies and vendor HIPAA compliance

  2. Consider interoperability of platforms and enhance electronic health record systems

  3. Conduct a comprehensive security risk assessment of IT systems periodically

  4. Closely monitor CMS updates regarding Medicare coverage and reimbursement of telehealth services

  5. Encourage medical providers to treat out-of-state patients benefits from temporarily waived in-state licensure requirements