Will telehealth widen or reduce health disparities? Telehealth may make it easier for individuals who lack transportation to get access to medical care; on the other hand, those without high-speed internet or good cell phone connections could be disadvantaged.
In a recent report, NCQA examined the future of telehealth and examined how to make sure telehealth is implemented in a way that improves outcomes for all. Below are the key suggestions from the report.
Tailoring telehealth to individual preferences and needs
- Prioritize language and cultural humility.
- Appreciate role of digital literacy in virtual care visit
- Optimize telehealth for people with disabilities
Addressing Regulatory, Policy, and Infrastructure Barriers to Fair Telehealth Access
- Ensure equitable broadband infrastructure
- Review and update legislation/regulations that stymie telehealth expansion and continuation
- Review and update telehealth payment policies to incentivize equitable access to care
- Consider how licensure limitations impact patient-centered care delivery
Leveraging Telehealth and Digital Technologies to Promote Equitable Care Delivery
- Develop, implement, and integrate digital technologies that address health equity issues
- Monitor the impact of new digital technologies on health equity and access to care
More details on how specifically to accomplish these goals are included in the full NCQA report.