Support for protecting telemedicine access remains broad


Research shows that telemedicine bridges gaps in healthcare access despite party affiliations.

Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) has published the results of a recent survey in which 1000 participants were asked about their opinions of telehealth. Positive reviews were overwhelming, with more than 94% of individuals supporting continued access to telehealth services.

“Access to telehealth is vital to achieving better health outcomes, greater health equity, more patient choice, and a more efficient health care system,” said Telehealth Access for America spokesperson Julia Mirich, in a press release. “One of the unfortunate truths about the US health care system is that zip codes determine health outcomes and overall life expectancy.”

Telehealth has become increasingly popular among senior citizens and 87% report a positive experience. Further, 70% of these individuals have previously traveled more than 30 minutes on average to visit their healthcare provider.

“Voters who live long distances from their health care provider demonstrates how critical telehealth is to addressing disparities in the health care system,” Mirich said.

Telehealth protection is also a bipartisan issue. Eighty-eight percent of democrats are in favor as well as 66% of republicans.

Voters from underserved groups such as communities of color and voters who face financial insecurity also favor protections - specifically 86% of Black voters and 82% of Hispanic voters. In addition, 84% of voters in favor are worried about being able to pay health care costs support permanent solutions to protect access.

“Voters believe in the positive impact of telehealth and their broad-based support for permanent solutions to protect access is clear,” Mirich said. “Lawmakers should act swiftly to avert the telehealth cliff through permanent reform that safeguards coverage and flexibility for virtual care.”

Other survey results include:

  • More than 8 in 10 voters view the federal government’s decision to lift restrictions on telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic as positive (81%). Just 8% have a negative view.
  • 93% of voters agree that patients and consumers should have the choice to see a licensed clinician virtually.
  • 92% of voters believe that Americans should have the choice to access telehealth services after the pandemic ends, regardless of whether they live in a rural or urban area.
  • 78% of voters support the passage of legislation to permanently protect access to telehealth services.

This article was originally published by sister publication Medical Economics.

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