Telehealth Gastroenteritis: The Future of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Care

Telehealth has emerged as a crucial component in the healthcare landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption and implementation of telehealth systems, changing how patients and healthcare providers approach healthcare for everything from common colds to gastrointestinal issues.

 

THE RISE OF TELEHEALTH IN GASTROENTEROLOGY AND HEPATOLOGY CARE

Telehealth is a broad concept that encompasses telemedicine (i.e., remote clinical services), eHealth, remote patient monitoring, etc. Telehealth for gastroenteritis has seen a substantial increase in utilization since the pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, telemedicine was primarily restricted to rural areas; but changes in legislation and regulations since then have allowed for expanded access to telehealth services. This has prompted significant growth in the use of telehealth for gastroenterology and hepatology services.

 

THE THREE PILLARS FOR SUSTAINABLE TELEHEALTH GROWTH

To ensure the continued growth and success of telehealth gastroenteritis, it is important to maintain three key pillars: technology, reimbursement, and regulations. Technological advancements play a critical role in the future of telehealth for gastroenteritis. Improvements in telehealth technology will also make encounters more seamless and accessible for patients and providers, with device-agnostic technology, user-friendly interfaces, and HIPAA-compliant platforms being crucial.

 

Reimbursement policies have a significant impact on the widespread adoption of telehealth gastroenteritis services. Legislation to remove restrictive telehealth requirements, such as those related to rural areas and originating sites, is being presented for implementation so healthcare professionals can deliver and bill for services via telehealth continuously and permanently.

 

Regulatory changes can help sustain the growth of telehealth for gastroenteritis and hepatology care. The easing of restrictions on interstate licensure during the pandemic has allowed physicians to practice across state lines via telemedicine, providing continuity of care for patients who relocate. While complete freedom may not be feasible, reciprocity between states can help facilitate uninterrupted care and expand access to specialty consultations in remote areas.