Delivering on the Promise of Telehealth to
Improve Health Status in California
The COVID-19 pandemic shelter-in-place and social distancing orders spotlighted the need for all Californians to be able to use telehealth and exposed the existing digital access inequities. It illuminated the imperative for investments in constructing high-speed Internet infrastructure capable of supporting telehealth services and for getting all residents online with appropriate computing devices and functional digital literacy. California has not optimized the use of Telehealth to close gaps for medically-underserved communities and economically-segregated neighborhoods, which also are home to the most digitally-disadvantaged residents.
It is essential for policymakers who seek to achieve Digital Equity to understand how to effectively integrate the use of technology into all institutions and systems, including the delivery of health and medical care. In 2021 CETF and partner organizations convened Fact-Finding Listening Conferences to gather data and input for an Action Plan to inform State and Federal policymakers about how to optimize the use of Telehealth in California.
The Listening Conferences explored the convergence of broadband technology and healthcare to optimize Telehealth to ensure quality care for medically-disadvantaged residents and to improve overall population health. These proceedings were rich in content, robust in insight, and timely in conferring as California harnesses its policy leadership and expertise to close the Digital Divide and advance Telehealth.
The Fact-Finding focused on Panels of Presenters comprised of health and medical care providers and with Responders comprised of government agencies, statewide associations, and healthcare foundations:
- Community Clinics Serving Medically-Underserved Populations (FQHCs)
- Senior Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living)
- Managed Health Care Plans – Private and Public
- Medical Centers
Ther Listening Sessions each featured “Calls to Action” by policymakers and a Briefing on the status of Telehealth in California to kick off the Fact-Finding. Stakeholders were invited to submit written comments and recommendations to inform the Action Plan for Telehealth in California.
CETF Telehealth Committee
|Barb Johnston Yellowlees, Committee Chair
The Castleton Group
CETF Board Member
Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
University of Southern California
CETF Board Member
The Honorable Martha M. Escutia