Capitol Correspondence - 06.29.21

Research Supports Use of Telehealth in Disability Services

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ANCOR members have flagged for us the importance of accessing telehealth for people with disabilities, as well as the need to invest in telehealth infrastructure. To assist our members in their advocacy on this topic, we flag a study published in Disability and Health Journal that finds that telehealth has the potential to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

As stated in the article’s conclusion, “Adults with IDD are already an underserved population and it is important that they are not left behind as the system shifts towards virtual care. Preliminary findings suggest that it is possible to deliver accessible, high quality virtual care for patients with IDD, though the accessibility of care may be dependent on the needs and capacities of the patient, supports available, environment from which care is received and the type of health care provided. A common conclusion of the studies in this review was that virtual care should complement and not replace in-person services. A better understanding is needed of which patients, under which circumstances, and with what supports can benefit from virtual care. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic there is currently a unique opportunity and urgency to learn how virtual care works in practice for populations not typically studied, including adults with IDD. It is critical that future research include the perspectives of patients, family members, paid caregivers and health care providers. This research must consider the full range of health care services, diversity of patients with IDD, and the different dimensions of access.”