The number of virtual patient-health care provider appointments (telehealth) exploded during Q2 as health systems accelerated telehealth implementation plans to satisfy patients' health care needs when in-person visits were discouraged or unavailable. Telehealth visits also offered a revenue stream that for most systems was small or non-existent prior to March 2020. The pandemic provided incentive for patients, providers and systems to quickly adapt to using this largely untapped tool.  Companies operating telehealth platforms independently or in collaboration with health systems seized the opportunity, experienced rapid growth and attracted substantial private investment. Government regulators assisted by waiving regulations and licensure requirements that had created obstacles to widespread use. 

Whether virtual health care remains financially sustainable and in-demand post-pandemic (whenever that is) remains an open question.  Virtual visit volumes have already declined sharply as in-person visits became an option starting in May.  Sustainability may depend on the degree of snapback there is on the currently waived compliance requirements although Seema Verma, CMS Administrator seems committed to maintaing the status quo based on recent public comments and tweets.   For some patients and providers, the "genie is out of the bottle" and the Zoom link and password may remain the preferred clinic location for the long term. Stay tuned...