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The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of telehealth services. The need for remote consultation has increased due to the risk of spreading the virus. Most notably, HIPAA regulations were relaxed, allowing covered health care providers to use widely available communications applications – as long as they were non-public facing – without the risk of penalties imposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights for HIPPA violations.
Healthcare providers began using widely available communications applications such as Facetime, Facebook video chat, Google hangouts, Zoom, Skype, Signal, Jabber, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services allowed health care providers to offer a vastly expanded list of telehealth services to patients located in their homes and outside of designated rural areas. Clearly, accelerated use of telemedicine during the pandemic has been a lifeline – especially those with chronic conditions and for independent physician practices crushed by lockdowns. While some changes will expire or be rolled back, federal and state legislators are under pressure to codify the flexibilities granted during the COVID-19 pandemic that increased access to telehealth services into law.
In addition, there are bills being proposed to codify the flexibilities granted during the COVID-19 pandemic that increased access to telehealth services into law. Productizing aspects of the telehealth services has become the next trend to push beyond the linear growth rate of traditional services by embedding a product within an existing service. Companies are boldly leaping ahead with the productization of existing successful services launched during the pandemic.