In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments across the United States relaxed restrictions on telemedicine, allowing more patients to receive healthcare remotely than ever before. This development brought a number of questions about how telehealth should be regulated to the fore. Is remote care as effective as in-person care? Would long-turn expansion of telemedicine reduce costs for patients and healthcare providers? Might a greater reliance on telehealth actually reduce access to care for some patients?
Technology has made it possible for people to virtually access their healthcare providers. During COVID-19, this has enabled patients and doctors to avoid excess exposure and travel for non-emergency visits. However, state and local regulations frequently limit or ban telemedicine for health and safety reasons. Should telemedicine be considered as the same or different from traditional office visits, and what regulations should govern it? Anastasia P. Boden is an attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation.