Expand use of virtual care for people with arthritis
During the COVID-19 pandemic, patients living with arthritis, many seriously immobile, had many concerns and questions and were desperately trying to get the latest, credible information about COVID-19 and what it means for them from their peers online and from web searches. At the same time, healthcare professionals increasingly turned to virtual care as a valuable tool to communicate and consult with their patients at home.
However, many people with arthritis live in locations where specialists are scarce and/or have difficulty traveling (due to symptoms like decreased mobility or walking issues). Virtual care — the delivery of health care services and information via electronic methods (two-way video, smartphones, email, etc.) — can address some of these challenges by bringing doctors into patients' homes or nearby clinics.
ACE urges elected officials to enact policies that expand access to virtual care for all people living with arthritis. Not only does virtual care reduces costs for patients, it also can make arthritis care more accessible, efficient and personalized — which can lead to improved quality of life. Public policy must promote broad access to these services.
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