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      Predictions for Telehealth in 2021: We Cannot Wait for It!

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          Lyle Berkowitz

          Telehealth services peaked in 2020, with over 50% of all outpatient care being delivered virtually at one point due to coronavirus disease (COVID) restrictions, improved reimbursement and positive regulatory changes. While we may not touch that ceiling again for a long time, it has certainly created a new floor, with many estimating that at least 20–30% of all care will be delivered via telehealth in 2021 and beyond.

          To understand more about what might differ in 2021 compared with 2020, we asked a diverse group of telehealth experts to share what they think will be different across people, process, and technology.

          Some telehealth experts stressed the importance of nurses and other paramedical personnel using telehealth more aggressively in 2021, especially for chronic care and remote monitoring. Many emphasized that telehealth will grow to become part of normal practice among a larger number of specialties. Interestingly, this may already be happening more than we realize because of the extent of non-reimbursable care being delivered virtually post-procedure and between visits.

          Other experts pointed to the importance of political, regulatory, and other process changes that are still needed to expand telehealth services. Of course, everyone hopes that reimbursement will continue and/or expand for all forms of virtual care.

          The majority of predictions, however, center on the continued advancement of technology to improve the access, speed, efficiency, and quality of telehealth services for all. Our futurists see a world of virtual care powered by remote device integration to increase the capture of important data, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) to make a distant visit seem closer, and by incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help with efficiency and quality in so many ways.

          Here comes 2021, and we can’t wait for it!

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          Most cited references 2

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          Predictions for Telehealth in 2020: Will This be the Takeoff Year?

           Amar Gupta (corresponding) ,  Mike Baird,  Shayan Vyas (2020)
          In order to place predictions for telehealth in proper perspective, consider that like all new industries, telehealth is characterized by disparate ideas developed by different people, often for the same medical specialty and/or medicine-related activity. Over time, these ideas must coalesce to provide growth and economies of scale. This occurs at multiple levels. One need only look at the history of banking and finance for an analogous situation that is highlighted by innovation, mergers, and integration. In healthcare, the overall experience with an array of disparate health information exchanges has been less than satisfactory for most observers. While the trend towards consolidation has begun in the telehealth arena, it is at an early stage. With this in mind, our invited experts looked into the future from their shared and unique perspectives to offer their view on the next big thing(s) in telehealth in 2020.
            • Record: found
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            Hospital in a home: Patient care model of the future

             J Lazare (2020)

              Author and article information

              Telehealth and Medicine Today
              Partners in Digital Health
              19 January 2021
              : 6
              [1 ]CEO of Back9 Healthcare Consulting, USA
              [2 ]VP Quality and Innovations, Teladoc Health, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, USA
              [3 ]Merck & Co., Inc., Boston, MA, USA
              [4 ]Secretary General, European Federation of Nurses Associations, Belgium
              [5 ]Vice President, Research and Policy, Director, Centre For Control Of Chronic Conditions, Public Health Foundation, India
              [6 ]CIRM Medical Director, San Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Rome, European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), VAS, Italy
              [7 ]Assistant Clinical Professor, Clinical Informatics, University of California, San Francisco, USA
              [8 ]Chief Quality & Innovation Officer, MEDNAX, USA
              [9 ]Chief Executive Officer, ORCHA, UK
              [10 ]Chief Information Security Officer and Executive Director, Indiana University Health, USA
              [11 ]Principle Software Systems Engineer and Department Leader—Telemedicine, The MITRE Corporation, USA
              [12 ]Director, Guidehouse, USA
              [13 ]General Trauma Surgery, Minimally Invasive & Robotic Surgery, Surgical Critical Care, Northern Light Health, USA
              [14 ]Co-founder, Group Chief Executive & Vice-Chairman, Fractal Analytics, India
              [15 ]vCISO, Advisor, Hillbilly Hit Squad, USA
              [16 ]MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Labs, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, USA
              [17 ]President, Mayo Clinic Platform, USA.
              Author notes
              Corresponding Author: Lyle Berkowitz, Email: Lyle@ 123456DrLyle.com
              © 2021 Tory Cenaj

              This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, adapt, enhance this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial.

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