On September 28, 2022, the US Senate unanimously passed the bipartisan resolution recognizing the importance of telehealth and declaring the 18th to the 24th of September Telehealth Awareness Week. The resolution was submitted to the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment. This action now sets the stage for the “awareness week” designation in future years.
Telehealth Awareness Week Resolution
Co-author of the resolution, Senator Roger Wicker, said that the resolution honored the progress made in telehealth and showed Congressional commitment to ensuring access to telehealth services to citizens across the country. Senator Brian Shatz, the resolution’s other co-author, added that it shows bipartisan support for telehealth and the need to communicate telehealth availability to a broader community. It encourages greater access to telehealth services, particularly in underserved and rural areas.
The resolution noted that healthcare use remained stable in the first year of the pandemic, but telehealth use increased by 88 times. Twenty-eight million more Medicare clients used telehealth services in the first year of the pandemic than in the prior year. The resolution recognizes the need to balance its use with in-person visits to create a hybrid system for improved healthcare. This is the second year that Telehealth Awareness Week has received Senate support. Senator Brian Shatz also led last year’s resolution.
Aims of the Telehealth Awareness Week Resolution
During Telehealth Awareness week, stakeholders across the county are encouraged to hold events focusing on telehealth and highlighting how telehealth enhances healthcare access. The objective is to improve telehealth services through hybrid access and educate the public about the availability of telehealth services, especially among people in underserved communities and rural areas. The resolution aims to unite the efforts of patients, caregivers, health care providers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to advance the role of telehealth in health care. It urges that the following steps be taken:
- Raise awareness about the benefits of expanding telehealth
- Highlight resources for health care providers and patients regarding telehealth;
- Collect and analyze data on the impacts of telehealth; and
- Promote continued access to telehealth for all communities, settings, and periods beyond the COVID–19 pandemic.
Telehealth 101: Essential Telehealth Technology Orientation
In this 2.5 hour, basic technology training, you will find a well-organized discussion of relevant basic research along with practical suggestions for making foundational decisions about your digital practice with cloud storage, backups systems, security software such as VPNs, HIPAA compliance and software purchasing, synchronous and asynchronous technologies, and much more.
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