Telehealth

Expanding telehealth access

Telehealth

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. These technologies, including video, phone, and email, support interactions between patients and their physicians and other health professionals; remote patient monitoring; remote evaluation of prerecorded video or images; and virtual consultations between practitioners. Telehealth tools are proving critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 40% of our ambulatory care visits are now 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.

28 times more video visits performed by Kaiser Permanente in 2020 than 2019 (see footer note 1), 80% of Kaiser Permanente members who used telehealth during 2020 were satisified (see footer note 2), 69% of senior Kaiser Permanente memebers (over 65) signed on to Kaiser Permanente's digital platform at least once a month (see footer note 3)

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, requirements for coverage, the need to obtain consent, technical requirements, and other provisions. This variation makes it challenging to replicate solutions and workflows across jurisdictions. We 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 our patients across state lines.