Only 20% of health systems would continue telehealth if reimbursements return to pre-COVID-19 levels

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, most health systems (91 percent) have been able to fully meet telehealth demand thanks to decreased regulations and increased reimbursement rates. 

For its "Top of Mind for Top Health Systems 2021: Digital health priorities in the era of COVID-19" report, KLAS Research partnered with Pittsburgh-based Center for Connected Medicine to survey health system executives about their digital health initiatives and priorities during the pandemic. 

While 91 percent of respondents said they have been able to meet telehealth demand during the pandemic, only 20 percent said that they would continue providing telehealth services if reimbursement rates went back to pre-COVID-19 levels. 

Without the increased reimbursement rates, 16 percent of executives said they would analyze the financial viability of continued use, followed by 15 percent who said they would lobby for improved regulation. Just 13 percent said they would return to in-person care, while 30 percent were unsure what they would do. 

When asked what the top areas for future telehealth improvement were, the respondents cited payment models and regulation as the most important at 25 percent. 

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