Re: “Telemedicine is here to stay — now we need to fund it” [June 11, Opinion]:
Use of telemedicine during the pandemic is a necessary approach to ensure the safety of both patients and staff. Despite the rapid increase in use of telemedicine, there remain many important questions about its implementation.
How do we ensure equitable access and equitable health outcomes from telemedicine services? Many patients from my practice at Harborview Medical Center do not have access to the technology to support high quality telemedicine care, which often requires a smartphone with video capabilities and high speed internet. And not every patient has a private space in their home or office from which they can comfortably and safely participate in a telemedicine visit.
Without further study of these and other important questions, expansion of telemedicine risks exacerbating the persistent and critical health disparities produced by our current health-care system.
Allison M. Cole, M.D., MPH, Seattle