Despite widespread discussion and promotion by commercial telemedicine companies for the use of telehealth, very few practicing physicians, including allergists, had incorporated it into their practices before the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous barriers, including a negative economic impact, accounted for its lack of use. Third party payors and integrated systems promoted self-pay or free visits for ailments like the common cold or seasonal allergies, usually provided by primary care nurse practitioners. Some academic specialists, including allergist/immunologists, incorporated its limited use in their outreach practices.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed this. Over the last several months, the majority of outpatient medical practices have been able to incorporate telehealth visits into their daily services, because waivers were enacted that removed the restrictions. Now we are faced with questions on how this may look in the future.
The College and Advocacy Council have been working diligently through various channels to permanently remove the telehealth barriers when the COVID-19 crisis finally ends. Our advocacy partnerships with the American Medical Association has given us the benefit of working with other specialties toward that common goal. We have been advocating our concerns against returning to the pre-COVID-19 telehealth barriers to governmental agencies and Congress.
The AMA needs to hear individual physicians’, nurse practitioners’, or physician assistants’ opinions on telehealth.
The AMA invites you to complete the Telehealth Impact Study Provider Questionnaire. The study has been approved by the Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board (IRB) and is part of our efforts in the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition to address the pandemic. Since COVID-19 started, we have experienced a significant shift towards telehealth. The goal of this project is to learn more about your experience with telehealth to identify the challenges and barriers, as well as the benefits.
Building on existing research, your response will help inform additional resources needed across the industry and health care community, provide insights to federal and state policymakers, and identify gaps in current research. Respondent and organization information will remain confidential and will only be reported in aggregate. The findings will be shared and made available to all on the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition website, as well as shared by the various organizations participating in the Coalition Telehealth Workgroup*.
The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition is focused on understanding your experience of telehealth as an individual physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Please start the survey now The survey is expected to take 15-20 minutes and we ask that you complete the survey by August 13, 2020. Please remember to press “submit” when you get to the end of the survey.
We want to hear from as many clinicians as possible to inform our work. If you have colleagues who use telehealth, please consider forwarding this invitation to them.
*COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition Telehealth Workgroup: American Medical Association (AMA), American Telemedicine Association (ATA), Digital Medical Society (DiMe), MassChallenge Health Tech, Mayo Clinic and MITRE Corporation. The AMA, while a part of the Coalition Telehealth Workgroup, is not a formal member of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition.