The United States is experiencing a fundamental demographic shift whereby in 2035, there will be more older adults than children under the age of 18. The number of clinicians and caregivers is decreasing rapidly, placing pressure on healthcare and social service systems to increase the efficiency of caring for our nation’s seniors.
The COVID-19 pandemic amplified and mirrored longstanding accessibility and coordination hurdles for older adults with complex health conditions. During the public health emergency, federal and state leaders relaxed regulations to allow healthcare providers to be paid for telehealth services with their patients. Healthcare leaders learned older adults can and will use telemedicine and it is an essential element to keep them connected to their providers.
Telemedicine and connected care are novel ways to increase the reach of the healthcare system where seniors want to receive care—in their homes and community. However, even with the addition of telehealth, older adults continue to face a confusing and unresponsive healthcare system not designed to meet their needs. West Health is committed to ensuring older adults don’t get left behind as healthcare continues to advance into a new digital future.
West Health convened leading experts in geriatrics, telehealth, and patient advocacy to develop core principles and companion guidelines that serve as the baseplate for advancing age-inclusive telehealth. These principles and guidelines ensure telehealth is:
Accessible and Equitable
Coordinated and Integrated
Telehealth services can and should be used with older adults who stand to benefit immensely from this more convenient form of care. However, guidance on best practices in using telehealth with our aging population has been lacking. Watch this video to learn about guiding principles to help providers and health systems best care for older adults using telehealth.