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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Future of telehealth post-pandemic

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I am fascinated with discussions speculating what forced changes during the pandemic will result in permanent changes in our modes of operating post-pandemic. For instance, will we continue sitting in front of our computers on ZOOM calls in a dress shirt and pajama bottoms?

One major shift caused by the pandemic was the growth of telehealth. Remote access to healthcare through two-way telecommunications technologies is not new. However, the use of these technologies exploded even from the early weeks of the pandemic. According to a CDC report in October 2020 there was a 154% increase in telehealth visits during the last week of March 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019*.

This quick surge in telehealth on a larger scale offered many timely solutions:

  • Access to vital healthcare including mental health services when many medical facilities were closed to in-person visits
  • Reduced disease exposure to both staff and patients
  • Decreased use of personal protective equipment (PPE) already in short supply

Moving forward, expanded telehealth services offer long-term solutions addressing social, economic, and environmental barriers to care such as transportation, lack of childcare, and lack of quality care facilities in lower income communities.

The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce (NACC) Board of Directors recently voted to join a number of major healthcare organizations throughout the state including the Illinois Health and Hospital Association to endorse a bill currently in play in Springfield, House Bill 3498. This bill seeks to support investment in telehealth post-pandemic by calling for insurance reimbursement for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person care and extends telehealth coverage post-COVID.

To find out more information on HB3498, the coalition supporting this bill, and compelling data that underscores that telehealth is here to stay to go the Coalition to Protect Telehealth website at www.protectillinoistelehealth.org.

My role is to be an advocate and resource in our community for information on important business-related policy matters and I ask that you feel comfortable in reaching out with those issues you have questions about or face so that we can best guide you and advocacy efforts inside our community through the NACC.

Source: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6943a3.htm.

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Reba Morgan Osborne
Reba Morgan Osbornehttp://naperville.net
Reba Morgan Osborne is the Director of Government Affairs for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact Reba at (630) 544-3387 or rosborne@naperville.net.
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