Telehealth improves healthcare access and outcomes for rural, medically underserved populations

Michael Gorton, CEO

Here’s what distinguishes a best-of-breed testing solution for at-home and on-site COVID testing.

By Michael Gorton

While considerable social scientific attention has been devoted to the impact of COVID-19, more attention is needed to assess its effects on medically underserved populations. These communities are among the nation’s most vulnerable populations and may be less resilient to the effects of such a large-scale shock.

Data from a new survey designed to assess the impacts of the pandemic on health-related and economic dimensions of rural well-being shows that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural populations have been severe, with significant negative impacts on unemployment, overall life satisfaction, mental health and economic outlook. Further, these impacts have been generally consistent across age, ethnicity, education and sex.

These grim reports are prompting payers and providers to adopt new approaches to delivering care. Many now recognize that telehealth is a first-line strategy to reach these patients, many of whom struggle with acute and chronic conditions and have compromised access to quality care. For rural patients, telehealth is often the first point of contact in an emergency and “emergency telehealth” already plays an important role in improving access for rural emergency patients in 11 states.

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