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Broadband access, outdated laws among hurdles to equitable telehealth, says NCQA

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The National Committee for Quality Assurance released a white paper this week exploring the root causes of disparities in virtual care access.

The report , which grew out of an NCQA roundtable discussion on the future of telehealth, outlines existing barriers to equity and recommendations for improving care delivery.

“Even prior to the pandemic, a change in healthcare delivery was on the horizon with ever-evolving advancements in technology,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane in a statement.

“As virtually based care expands, unique patient needs and preferences must be identified and prioritized so that telehealth can help us close the gaps in health care and not widen existing disparities,” O’Kane continued.

WHY IT MATTERS

The spike in telehealth use triggered by COVID-19 has prompted examinations of its potential role in both expanding access to and enacting hurdles to care.In October 2021, NCQA hosted a roundtable discussion that included a multidisciplinary panel of experts in telehealth practice, technology, regulation and policy, with an emphasis on backgrounds in health equity or health technology.The panel identified three key opportunities to improve quality in telehealth care, all centered around the prioritization of patient-focused services: > Tailoring telehealth use and access to individual needs Addressing regulatory, policy […]

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