Axios chief technology correspondent Ina Fried (L) with Mei Kwong, executive director of the Center for Connected Health Policy. Screenshot: Axios

Boosting telehealth services with 5G likely won't eliminate the need for physical doctor's visits, Mei Kwong, executive director for the Center for Connected Health Policy, said on Friday during an Axios virtual event on Friday.

The big picture: Telehealth has experienced massive growth during the coronavirus pandemic, as more health providers have had to pivot services for patients stuck at home.

What she's saying: "So really, telehealth is a compliment to what you're doing with your healthcare services ... it's just another tool in the toolkit for the provider to use in providing that service," Kwong said.

  • "I don't think that in-person service will ever go away, at least not for the foreseeable future, but there will definitely be more things you can do with the technology and do it safely and effectively."

Yes, but: Policymakers are concerned about telehealth widening the digital divide, Kwong said.

  • "Will everybody be able to access it? And that's been a major concern of policymakers if they want to make sure that nobody is left behind, that there isn't this digital divide if we go forward with telehealth of some people being able to access it, and others aren't," she said.

Go deeper: 5G rollout advances despite pandemic, but hazards loom

Go deeper

Sep 20, 2020 - Health

Trump's health secretary asserts control over all new rules

HHS Secretary Alex Azar and President Donald Trump. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar wrote a memo this week giving him authority over all new rules and banning any of the health agencies, including the FDA, from signing any new rules "regarding the nation’s foods, medicines, medical devices and other products," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The story further underscores reporting that health and scientific agencies are undergoing a deep politicization as the Trump administration races to develop a coronavirus vaccine, as Axios' Caitlin Owens has reported. Peter Lurie, a former associate commissioner of the FDA, told the Times that the Azar memo amounted to a "power grab."

Sep 20, 2020 - Health

Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure

The career scientists involved in the approval process will not be swayed by politics, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Why it matters: Gottlieb's comments come amid fears that the Trump administration has politicized the coronavirus response and is seeking rapid approval and distribution of a vaccine.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 31,346,086 — Total deaths: 965,294— Total recoveries: 21,518,790Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,858,130 — Total deaths: 199,890 — Total recoveries: 2,615,949 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: U.K. upgrades COVID alert level as Europe sees worrying rise in infections — "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!