“Since about mid-March, it’s become a reality and even a likelihood for millions of patients,” said Lori Uscher-Pines, a senior policy researcher at the Rand Corp., whose research includes innovations in telehealth. “Before then, less than 10 percent of U.S. adults had ever had a telemedicine visit. But covid-19 [is changing] all that, likely permanently.”…

Before mid-March, Jay Mazel, a cardiac electrophysiologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, gave little thought to telemedicine. His specialty involves the treatment of heart rhythm problems. While he’s still doing emergency procedures, with enhanced safety protocols, two days a week, maintenance visits are largely by video.

“Even though it’s brand new for my patients – who tend to be older – and their doctor, they love it and so do I,” says Mazel, who handles many of the televisits from home.

Mazel says the first visit with a new patient should be in person if possible, “to help us establish rapport.” But for now, both he and his patients are happy with the information they can exchange during virtual appointments for uncomplicated routine follow-ups.