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“No other option”: Telehealth could be rural healthcare’s savior


“There is no future of rural healthcare without telehealth.” That was the message articulated by Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. The prediction is made more grave by the consistent challenges rural providers are facing when it comes to telehealth utilization.

In a webinar sponsored by Wheel, health tech executives will explore how telehealth is increasingly becoming the first point of interaction between patients and providers and the potential for hybrid care models to improve the patient experience, health outcomes, and deliver cost savings.

In 2020, 34 percent of rural Medicare beneficiaries were telehealth users, compared to nearly half of beneficiaries in non-rural zip codes, according to University of Michigan research . Many rural patients viewed much of this early pandemic telehealth use as a temporary replacement for in-person care, so rural usage rates are dropping more as the country moves further from its lockdown days.

During a Tuesday panel discussion at HHS’ National Telehealth Conference , Morgan called the fact that rural providers’ telehealth use lags far behind that of urban providers “beyond frustrating.” His organization has found that as rural providers implement telehealth services, many are struggling to address key questions about the patients they serve: Do […]

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