How hospitals are responding to surge in telehealth visits

Hospitals and health systems are relying on their telehealth platforms to treat patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the federal government losening restrictions surrounding telehealth and also improving reimbursement, hospitals across the country have bolstered their virtual technology. Cleveland Clinic completed more than 60,000 telehealth visits in March, officials told Kaiser Health News.

Prior to the pandemic, Cleveland Clinic averaged 3,400 telehealth visits a month. Approximately 75 percent of the virtual visits come from patients worried they have contracted COVID-19. With the surge in visits, Cleveland Clinic has waived patient copays.

Cleveland Clinic has also transitioned more physicians to its telehealth network after canceling elective surgeries.

New York City-based NYU Langone Health has also enhanced its virtual platform as the system averages around 900 telehealth visits a day. During these visits, 80 percent of which are patients suffering from a cough and fever, physicians are recommending self-care, hydration and self-isolation.

"The goal is to create a new front line for these patients rather than have them rush into an urgent care or ER," said Paul Testa, MD, chief medical information officer, to Kaiser Health News.

More articles on telehealth:
'It's just the right thing to do': Why these 2 health systems slashed virtual visit prices
NYU Langone, Providence & 5 other hospitals experiencing telehealth surges
5 states expanding telehealth access

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