Publication

Telehealth with older adults: Getting it right

< 1 min
January 26, 2024
Telehealth being available for older adults can only have a clear advantage if there are guidelines in place to help facilitate its deployment and use. This specifically is targeted towards older patients who may be "complex" or "vulnerable" in these settings. The guidelines are sorted into 3 main categories in which each domain must be considered in order to ensure high-quality telehealth-facilitated care will be able to properly be delivered to older adults.
PUBLICATION
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Authors
Kevin Biese Headshot Kevin Biese, MD
Board Member, West Health Policy Center
Liane Wardlow Headshot Liane Wardlow
Senior Director, Clinical Research & Telehealth
Zia Agha Headshot Zia Agha, MD
Chief Medical Officer, Gary and Mary West Foundation
Chief Medical Officer, West Health Institute

Telehealth has tremendous potential to improve healthcare access, efficiency, and safety; the COVID pandemic has only made this more evident. The high number of excess deaths1 and decreased utilization of medical care early in the pandemic, especially for individuals over age 65, make the case for continued utilization of telehealth in an older adult population post pandemic.

In this issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Bhatia et al. share the results of a mixed methods survey of 208 individuals aged 65 and over regarding their experience of utilizing telehealth (audio only and/ or video) in place of in-person visits with their primary care provider (PCP). Most respondents liked their telehealth experience and thought telehealth should remain a covered option post pandemic. Respondents appreciated the convenience and time-saving nature of telehealth. Satisfaction with telehealth visits was equally high for all age groups including people aged 75 and over. Though many acknowledged the benefits of in-person visits, a majority want telehealth visits with their PCPs to remain an option for the foreseeable future. The authors assert that these findings make a strong argument for continuing Medicare reimbursement of telehealth visits after the pandemic.