The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, technological advancements, regulatory waivers, and user acceptance have converged to boost telehealth activities. Due to the state of emergency, regulatory waivers in the United States have made it possible for providers to deliver and bill for services across state lines for new and established patients through Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)- and non-HIPAA-compliant platforms with home as the originating site and without geographic restrictions. Platforms have been developed or purchased to perform videoconferencing, and interdisciplinary dialysis teams have adapted to perform virtual visits. Telehealth experiences and challenges encountered by dialysis providers, clinicians, nurses, and patients have exposed health care disparities in areas such as access to care, bandwidth connectivity, availability of devices to perform telehealth, and socioeconomic and language barriers. Future directions in telehealth use, quality measures, and research in telehealth use need to be explored. Telehealth during the public health emergency has changed the practice of health care, with the post-COVID-19 world unlikely to resemble the prior era. The future impact of telehealth in patient care in the United States remains to be seen, especially in the context of the Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative.
Keywords: Nephrology; coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); end-stage kidney disease (ESRD); home dialysis; home hemodialysis (HHD); peritoneal dialysis (PD); public health emergency; remote monitoring; telehealth; telemedicine.
Copyright © 2020 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.