Telehealth Enters The Mainstream

We’ve all heard the term “mainstream media,” which differentiates network TV and the New York Times from, say, blogs intended for a niche audience. We often view healthcare in the same way, where primary care and acute care are the “mainstream,” leaving things like concierge medicine and palliative care on the margins.

For too long, telehealth has been relegated to the margins. Now it’s time to quit viewing telehealth as a boutique service for sophisticated consumers. In other words, it’s time to treat telehealth as just “health” – no different from any other form of medicine.

InTouch Health founder, Dr. Yulun Wang, has long emphasized that telehealth plays a critical role at every point in the care continuum. Just look at the continuum diagram above and you’ll see that telehealth is involved at every “mainstream” point possible – from intensive care to ambulatory surgery centers to rehab facilities, long-term care, pharmacies, and even the patient’s home.

That’s why it’s strange that some people still see telehealth as a niche service, useful only for someone who has a stroke while fly-fishing in some rural stretch of Montana. But the truth is that telehealth is becoming commonplace and ubiquitous, improving outcomes in inner-city clinics, urgent care offices, operating rooms, skilled nursing facilities, and a host of other places.

That’s about as mainstream as you can get. So maybe some day we’ll drop the “tele” entirely and start simply calling it “health” – safeguarded at every step by seamless technology.

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