Telehealth is the practice of providing healthcare services and information remotely through digital technology, such as video conferencing platforms, telephone and online chat. Many services commonly provided in a doctor’s office can also be delivered via telehealth, including routine wellness visits, diagnoses and follow-up appointments after a surgery or procedure.
Telehealth enables providers to supply care from anywhere, at any time. This makes telehealth a convenient option for those who live far from a physical office location, particularly in rural areas. Patients with a busy schedule may also favor telehealth, since they can fill out paperwork beforehand and quickly log on at their exact appointment time, often with no wait.
Telehealth adoption peaked in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic when stay-at-home guidelines required virtual alternatives to traditionally in-person activities and tasks. The CDC reported a 154% increase in telehealth visits during the last week of March 2020 compared to the same week in 2019.