The Promise of Telehealth for Addressing COVID-19

With the emergence of the coronavirus in 2020, many routine activities, including health care services, have been disrupted. Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals have been able to provide services remotely in some cases. This is safer for both patients and providers and can also improve access to care.

While some of these practices were in place before the COVID-19 crisis, the use of telehealth has increased during the global pandemic. The word telehealth is sometimes used interchangeably with telemedicine, but these terms mean different things. This brief explores those differences, how remote health care services work and for what conditions, and what policy changes have occurred to expand access to remote health care.