Health Affairs: Audio-Only Telemedicine In Primary Care: Embraced in the NHS, Second Rate in the U.S.
Use of telemedicine in primary care soared in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and remains well above pre-pandemic levels. In the US, a major enabler of this shift is equal reimbursement across video, audio, and in-person visits. Policy makers must now choose whether to extend these COVID-19-era telemedicine policies. A key decision is whether audio-only telemedicine should be covered and if so, whether it should retain parity with video-based telemedicine. However, US policy makers would be wise to look internationally first—where experience suggests that audio-only can be an effective and more equitable means of delivering primary care, such as the National Health Service (NHS) in England.