The Future of Telemedicine

- June 9, 2023
Should pandemic expansions become permanent?
Photo of parent and son on video call in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on October 16, 2019. (Getty Images/The Washington Post/Michael S. Williamson)
When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) loosened regulations so insurers could reimburse medical providers for online appointments. Besides slowing the spread of contagion, the availability of telehealth enabled working parents, caregivers, people with disabilities and employees with limited paid time off to easily access health care.

In your view, should telehealth and wellness trackers, apps and third-party care-finding services be subject to the same data privacy rules as doctors and insurance companies?

Do doctors do a better job when they live in the same community they serve?

1840s–1900sEarly telecommunications are invented and used for medicine.
1910s–1990sThe modern U.S. health care and health insurance marketplace emerges. More telecommunication channels launch and are used for health care.
2000–2019U.S. health care costs and access expand; the internet matures and modern telehealth offerings begin.
2020–2023COVID-19 pandemic triggers loosening restrictions on telemedicine, increased use and the rise of private telemedicine companies.

Should Congress pass new federal data privacy laws to govern telemedicine?


Hayley Tsukayama
Senior Legislative Activist, Electronic Frontier Foundation.


Robert Gellman
Privacy and Information Policy Consultant, Health Care Patient Data Privacy Expert.


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