Expanding telehealth access


Expanding telehealth access

Kaiser Permanente’s telehealth connectivity empowers our members to choose where, when, and how they get care.

Our fully integrated telehealth capabilities enhance the patient experience, improve outcomes, and expand access to routine and life-saving care. Video, phone, email, and other technology enables interactions between patients and their physicians and other health professionals, and supports remote patient monitoring, remote evaluation of prerecorded video or images, and virtual consultations among practitioners. Telehealth tools proved critical during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. About 40% of our ambulatory care visits were conducted by video or phone call, with an average of approximately 30,000 video visits completed per weekday.

Despite strong evidence that telehealth can be an essential component of care delivery, there are policy and payment barriers to widespread use. Policymakers can save patients time and increase affordability by championing policies that support and expand its use.

28x more

video visits in 2020 than in 20191


of members who used telehealth during 2020 were satisfied2


of members over 65 signed in to our digital platform at least once a month3

Kaiser Permanente supports the following principles:

  • Expand telehealth access and coverage: Policies should support expanded access to telehealth services and coverage and should treat in-person and telehealth services the same where clinically appropriate. Policies should also ensure access to adequate, affordable broadband and devices to enable equitable care. 
  • Align rules governing telehealth among states: States differ in their approaches to telehealth regulation — including differences in the definition of telehealth, and in requirements for coverage, consent, technical requirements, and other provisions. This variation makes it challenging to replicate solutions and workflows across jurisdictions. Our country must broaden telehealth availability and, to the extent possible, adopt consistent rules.
  • Facilitate physician licensure through the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact: State medical boards rightly ensure consumer protection through licensure processes. As the need for telehealth increases, states should adopt the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, allowing physicians to more easily provide care to patients across state lines.