The RUPRI Health Panel has released a new brief, The Role of Telehealth in Achieving a High Performing Rural Health System: Priorities in a Post-Pandemic System, as a commentary on the preconditions for the optimum use of telehealth, looking at experiences of telehealth usage during the PHE.
The Panel continues to contribute to discussions of the optimum use of telehealth in health care delivery. Appropriate use of telehealth will advance the HPRHS. Conversely, ability to attract local consumers to distant providers may threaten local infrastructure by attracting insured patients (and the revenue streams they generate) away from local providers. The remaining population, either publicly insured or uninsured, may not generate sufficient revenue to sustain local practitioners. Services provided via telecommunications, even when appropriate, may pose challenges to affordability if they change direct out-of-pocket responsibilities of low-income residents. On balance, potential advances to achieving the HPRHS as a result of telehealth appear to outweigh risks to access and affordability, but vigilance is required.
Principal authors for this brief are Joel M. James, MPH & Keith Mueller, PhD, Panel Chair. Joanne Constantin, MPH, is a contributing author. The brief was prepared by the Health Panel with the support from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.