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Historically, telehealth has had a difficult time getting a foothold in urgent care. Some operators have found ways to make it work to their advantage, while many have found it not profitable enough to be a viable component of their business. The COVID-19 pandemic changed that for many as in-person visits tailed off dramatically for a time. Now that COVID is not perceived as a threat on the same level it was, some are questioning whether telemedicine’s time came and went. The American Medical Association is not among them, though, as it published an opinion piece claiming that “telehealth will be part of [the] postpandemic healthcare ecosystem.” One reason, simply, is that patients like to have it as an option; failing to offer it may mean losing a patient to a competitor, it suggests. Another consideration, as Baptist Health Chief Medical Information Officer Brett Oliver, MD is quoted as saying in the article, is that taking away the virtual care option could hinder the quest for improving equity in healthcare overall. On the other hand, a new article from Managed Care Executive reasons, what could be a timely opportunity for telehealth could just as easily fade back into the shadows if it’s simply “the old model [of primary care] with virtual care pasted on”; it has to continue evolving in order to produce meaningful outcomes. JUCM has covered telehealth from a uniquely urgent care perspective for years, from analysis of why it doesn’t work (or could work) for urgent care to emerging legislative issues and opportunities. You can read more to inform your own opinion in our telehealth archive.

With COVID-19 Waning, Urgent Care Telehealth May Be at a Crossroad