Since the onset of COVID-19, accessibility of telehealth has witnessed massive and rapid expansion owing to changes in regulatory, reimbursement, and technological scenarios. At the same time, vulnerable groups- especially the ones subject to color discrimination – are left behind, say industry leaders.
“Unfortunately, minority groups are not receiving benefits of the telehealth revolution,” says executive director of Medicaid Transformation Project.
Meanwhile, the focus of Medicaid Transformation Project has expanded since COVID-19 began to spread across the U.S. in spring, said the executive Director of the project. Due to this, the definition of vulnerable population has broadened to include elderly people, people experiencing domestic violence, those with chronic illnesses, healthcare frontline workers and more.
In such a scenario, the agency has expanded the aperture of their work with the help of their members and digital health companies to serve these populations.
Further, as more number of people shift towards government-funded programs increasing the burden on already underfunded programs, the agency strives to incorporate efforts to effectively gauge and manage risks in these programs.
Addressing Language Barriers, Cultural Distinctions important for Valuable Telehealth Services
Whilst, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services vied to make telehealth services more accessible, including providing reimbursement for service providers and allowing care between states, virtual care still remains limited and is not available for everyone who needs it.
For this, telehealth solutions need to be served in a culturally satisfactory, equitable way to make sure they reach the communities that need those most.
Tactically, this implies, telehealth solutions offer appropriate language capabilities, enable communication in multiple modalities, and factor in interplay of cultural distinctions while receiving care from healthcare systems.
On its own, telehealth, will not be enough to overcome language barriers between healthcare personnel and patients, or alleviate institutional racism patient face while receiving healthcare.