Coronavirus Proved Telehealth Works. Now Let’s Make It Permanent.

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With the eyes of the world on all things COVID-19 all the time, you’d think the pandemic put an end to all other health issues. Unfortunately, for those of us with existing health conditions, it hasn’t. Instead, we’ve had to adapt to a vastly different health care environment than we’ve been used to.

I am one of the 43 million adults in the United States who has been diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition caused by metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, or a host of other factors. A few years back, I was flagged as having a more progressive and rarer version of the condition, which required major changes in diet and exercise, numerous visits to doctors, and a ton of tests—on top of the many follow-ups in the years since.

When COVID-19 hit, I was worried I would be unable to consult with my primary care doctor (or any specialists, if the need arose). In today’s complicated world of insurance companies and paperwork, I didn’t have a way to keep in touch with him about supplements I was taking or tests for which I was overdue. The often-crowded office is quite a drive away, but now all routine in-person visits had been suspended.