Telehealth News Recap - March 2021

It can be tough to catch up and keep up with the latest news, trends, interviews, and insights in the virtual care space. That’s why we’re here to do the work for you with our monthly telehealth news recap.

This month we explore the opportunities in virtual primary care and behavioral health; the latest pulse on consumers’ expectations of their digital healthcare experience; early insight into the Department of Health & Human Services’ embrace of telemedicine under a new administration; and a potential downside of the “Fauci effect” with record rates of medical school applications and enrollment.

Trends & Insights

Digital Health Consumer Adoption Report 2020

Rock Health and the Stanford Center for Digital Health released findings from their sixth annual Consumer Adoption Survey. Amidst a national pandemic and the ensuing stay-at-home orders, consumer adoption rates grew significantly from 2019 to 2020—10+ percentage point increases—across live video telemedicine, wearable ownership, and digital health metric tracking. The 2020 survey data suggest that consumers more than ever expect technology to be an integral part of their healthcare experience.

Read the full report from Rock Health >

Little, blue lessons for a post-pandemic healthcare industry

Viagra’s successful launch in the late 1990s gave drug companies a roadmap to building a humanized brand by marketing directly to potential patients, encouraging them to go talk to their doctors about a condition that many did not view as a medical condition at the time. But it also showed why, even in a pharma-friendly, post-Covid world, humanizing healthcare may be harder than it seems.

Read the full article from MedCity News >

Tough & Engaging Conversations

‘I Am Worth It’: Why Thousands of Doctors in America Can’t Get a Job

A potential downside of the Fauci effect: we’re facing a shortage of more than 100,000 physicians by 2033, yet each year thousands of graduates emerge from medical schools with a virtually useless M.D. or D.O. Residency programs haven’t kept up with the amount of graduates, leaving thousands of young doctors “chronically unmatched” and deep in debt.

Read the full article from The New York Times >

Lauren Powell on the intersection of Covid-19 and racis‪m‬

Lauren Powell, executive director of Times Up Healthcare, wrote a searing essay for STAT's First Opinion after George Floyd was killed last summer: “My nightmare: Covid-19 meets racism meets the killing of a Black person by police." In an episode for STAT’S podcast, Powell take a deep dive into that essay, talk about what it’s like coping with the Covid-19 pandemic in Richmond, Va., whether she took to the streets in the Black Lives Matter protests, and finding Black joy in the time of coronavirus.

Listen to the the full episode from STAT's First Opinion Podcast >

Policy & Regulatory Updates

HHS Secretary nominee Xavier Becerra signals support for virtual care

"If we don't learn from COVID how telehealth can help save lives, then we're in trouble," said Becerra during a Senate confirmation hearing. Although the expansion of telehealth beyond the pandemic has enjoyed bipartisan support, that support has not yet translated into permanent, wide-ranging policy.

Read the full article from Healthcare IT News >

Broad Coalition of Health Industry Groups Calls for Obamacare Expansion

In an unusual display of unity, groups representing nearly all the major players in the American healthcare system — hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and employers — are joining forces to urge Congress to embrace President Biden’s broad vision of building on the Affordable Care Act to reach the long elusive goal of universal coverage.

Read the full article from The New York Times >

Growth & Innovation

The CEO of major health insurer Humana laid out why he's betting big on primary care

Humana is doubling down on investing in primary-care clinics to lower healthcare costs, according to CEO Bruce Broussard. Humana's primary-care ambitions are emblematic of a movement among insurers to do more than pay medical claims.

Read the full article from Business Insider >

Startups should focus on innovations that truly improve mental health

An unexpected side effect of the tragedy of the pandemic is an unprecedented opportunity for innovation in mental health care. The question is no longer whether technology will transform mental health care, but when and how it will occur.

Read the full article from STAT >

At Wheel, we believe healthcare will move forward when we amplify the impact of virtual care for more patients. Learn more about the Wheel solution for virtual care companies and find out how Wheel can help launch, scale, or sustain your telehealth business.