Opportunity Calling. Will COVID-19 Bring Telehealth Into the Mainstream of American Healthcare?
May 20, 2020
It took American Family Care, an urgent care and primary care company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, just 36 hours to roll out its telemedicine service, AFC TeleCare, after the COVID-19 outbreak struck. “We had been thinking about it and deciding when we wanted to venture into it (telemedicine)” prior to the pandemic, says Benjamin Barlow, M.D., the company’s chief medical officer (CMO). “We met on a Monday, and the next day it was a go.” Since AFC TeleCare’s launch in March, many of the calls the company has received involve medication management for established patients, Barlow says.
If American healthcare does wind up getting divided into pre- and post-COVID-19 eras, the migration from in-person visits to telehealth ones will likely be one of the biggest developments on the right-hand side of the inflection. Population health experts and advocates have been eyeing telehealth for some time as a way to monitor patients, encourage healthy behaviors and increase adherence to medications.