Today, 13 leading associations and non-profits representing patients, clinicians, hospitals, health plans, and technology companies released a roadmap for building on the “new normal” of virtual care delivery post-COVID-19 pandemic.

Virtual care has long been seen as a key way to expand access to care and to improve efficiency, coordination and flexibility of care. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the vast potential of virtual care to transform care delivery at scale.

“The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association recognizes the promise of virtual care and how innovations in virtual care, including telehealth, enhance our ability to improve health care access, lower costs, and promote positive health outcomes,” said Justine Handelman, senior vice president, Office of Policy and Representation, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “We agree that to continue this transformation for all forms of virtual care, we must not only identify and remove regulatory barriers to expand access, but also must enable flexibility in coverage and  ensure consumer trust through strong privacy and security protections.”

The white paper creates a path for realizing the full promise of virtual care delivery, and builds on the Health IT Leadership Roundtable, The New Normal of Virtual Care Delivery: How COVID-19 Accelerated the Adoption and Use of Virtual Care and What’s Next, which was facilitated by Sirona Strategies health care consultancy in July 2020.

“Telehealth has been instrumental in making sure that patients have access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. It should be a permanent tool available to clinicians and hospitals to ensure all people have access to high-quality, affordable care,” said Sophia Tripoli, Director of Health Care Innovation, Families USA. 

Successfully integrating virtual care into care delivery requires building patient and clinician trust, alongside other critical elements, such as data and technology infrastructure and interoperability. Putting these pieces into place will require investment, education, and updated policies.

The purpose of the Health IT Leadership Roundtable: The New Normal of Virtual Care Delivery was to provide an opportunity for a diverse set of patients, policymakers and organizations to find common ground in identifying key actions needed to build on the new normal of virtual care delivery. The event was hosted by: The Alliance for Connected Care, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Health Information Management Association, American Heart Association, American Hospital Association, American Medical Informatics Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, Consumer Technology Association, Federation of American Hospitals, National Partnership for Women & Families, and Premier Healthcare Alliance.  

More information about the white paper and the event can be found here.