The American Society on Aging, a national leader in advocating for technology-enabled healthcare, recently pledged its commitment to advance age-inclusive telehealth principles and guidelines that will define the future of virtual care for older adults and their family caregivers. By making this pledge, ASA joins a robust list of healthcare leaders who express a commitment to high-quality, equitable and person-centered telehealth for older adults. This commitment aligns with ASA’s policy work focused on championing digital inclusion, ending ageism, and promoting health equity.
Grounded in practicality, the age-inclusive telehealth principles and guidelines were spearheaded and vetted by the West Health Institute and leading experts in geriatrics, telehealth and consumer advocacy. To supercharge this movement, West Health launched a new Center of Excellence For Telehealth and Aging (CE4TA) with the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center and University of Virginia Department of Geriatrics. The Center of Excellence provides free practical tools, extensive vetted resources and a community of like-minded experts to help organizations enhance their telehealth offerings and showcase their achievements in improving telehealth care for older adults.
Older adults often face a confusing, unresponsive and uncoordinated care system, and these hurdles were amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, federal and state leaders expanded payment for telehealth services. In 2020 alone, Medicare-covered telehealth visits increased 63-fold. Leading health systems with telehealth platforms learned that older adults can and will use this type of care, however intentional human-centered design efforts are vital to ensure all customer segments—particularly older adults with complex care needs—can meaningfully use telehealth going forward.
ASA is honored to be recognized for its commitment in shaping the future of age-inclusive telehealth to meet the needs, values and preferences of older adults and family caregivers of today and tomorrow. This is one more way ASA is achieving its mission to unite, empower and champion everyone who is striving to improve aging.