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Authors

  1. Neri, Antonio J. MD, MPH
  2. Whitfield, Geoffrey P. PhD, MEd
  3. Umeakunne, Erica T. MSN, MPH, APRN, AGNP-C, CIC
  4. Hall, Jeffrey E. PhD, MA, MSPH, CPH
  5. DeFrances, Carol J. PhD
  6. Shah, Ami B. MPH
  7. Sandhu, Paramjit K. MD, MPH
  8. Demeke, Hanna B. PhD, MSN, RN
  9. Board, Amy R. DrPH, MPH, MSW
  10. Iqbal, Naureen J. BSc
  11. Martinez, Katia BA
  12. Harris, Aaron M. MD, MPH
  13. Strona, Frank V. MPH

Abstract

Telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to provide care when the patient and the provider are not in the same room at the same time. Telehealth accounted for less than 1% of all Medicare Fee-for-Service outpatient visits in the United States in 2019 but grew to account for 46% of all visits in April 2020. Changes in reimbursement and licensure policies during the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to greatly facilitate this increased use. Telehealth will continue to account for a substantial portion of care provided in the United States and globally. A better understanding of telehealth approaches and their evidence base by public health practitioners may help improve their ability to collaborate with health care organizations to improve population health. The article summarizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) approach to understanding the evidence base for telehealth in public health practice, possible applications for telehealth in public health practice, and CDC's use of telehealth to improve population health.