The COVID-19 pandemic further ushered in an unprecedented era of change within the healthcare industry, particularly for telehealth. While telehealth, medical privacy, and broadband issues are not new to the regulatory environment, pandemic policies have allowed healthcare to become even more connected, raising more questions than ever related to what exists and what’s ahead for state and federal telehealth policies. While pre-pandemic telehealth policy at the state and federal level often focused around payer reimbursement policies, attention during the pandemic has lasered in on state licensing and prescribing compliance across state lines. Meanwhile, as providers have ramped up technology implementation in their practices to better utilize telehealth in a relaxed COVID-19 regulatory environment, this article will look at ever-complicated and evolving medical privacy laws, as well as remaining broadband infrastructure and digital barriers. Planned post-public health emergency (PHE) telehealth policies and areas of interest for policymakers contemplating long-term connected health policies are also highlighted in terms of the future of connected health policy.
By Amy Durbin
I. BACKGROUND: TELEHEALTH POLICY AT THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVEL
State and federal governments have had connected health policies related to telehealth, privacy and the technological infrastructure required for it on the books for decades. Historically, telehealth policies have focused o...