This article reviews the current experience and the flaws encountered in the rush to deploy telemedicine as a substitute for in-person care in response to the raging coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; the preceding fault lines in the U.S. health care system that exacerbated the problem; and the importance of emerging from this calamity with a clear vision for necessary health care reforms. It starts with the premise that the precursors of catastrophes of this magnitude provide a valid basis for planning corrective measures, improved preparedness, and ultimately serious health reform. Such reform should include standardized protocols for proper deployment of telemedicine to triage patients to the appropriate level and source of care at the point of need, proper use of relevant technological innovations to deliver precision medicine, and the development of regional networks to coordinate and improve access to care while streamlining the care process. The other essential element is a universal payment system that puts the United States at par with the rest of the industrialized countries, regardless of variation among them. The ultimate goal is creating an efficient, effective, accessible, and equitable system of care. Although timing is uncertain, the pandemic will be brought under control. The path to a better future after the pandemic offers some consolation for the massive loss of life and treasure during this pandemic.
- health care
- health economics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Health Information Management