National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence: NIST unveils final telehealth, remote patient monitoring guidance (2/23) – The U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence released the final version of the Securing Telehealth Remote Patient Monitoring Ecosystem guidance, designed to support provider organizations with keeping telehealth and remote patient monitoring secured. The guidance aims to tackle the traditional patient monitoring platforms in the health care infrastructure, as well as monitoring equipment used by patients outside of the hospital setting. The new remote care capabilities include third-party platform providers using videoconferencing, cloud or internet technologies, among others.
Telehealth Research, Reports and Surveys
Healthcare IT News: Telehealth revenue could hit $20B in five years, say analysts (2/25) – A new report by Bloomberg Intelligence predicted that the telehealth sector could bring in $20 billion in US revenue by 2027. The publication
said that virtual care is set to become “a staple” of health care delivery, with analysts finding that annual revenue growth for top telehealth providers sits at 30 percent.
mHealth Intelligence:Highly Privileged Cancer Patients Get Access to Telehealth Sooner (2/24) – A study
published in JAMA Oncology found that though telehealth use among cancer patients skyrocketed early in the COVID-19 pandemic, uptake was not uniform across socioeconomic groups. Most patients in the highest socioeconomic status index quartile (66.9 percent) had a virtual visit within 30 days of cancer diagnosis, compared with about 48 percent of patients in the lower index quartiles.
The Verge: Telemedicine leaves behind non-English speakers, study shows (2/24) – According to a new study in the SSM-Qualitative Research in Health journal, people who speak limited English struggled to access telehealth services in the US during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting their ability to connect with medical care. The study found that clinic patients who spoke limited English struggled to set up and use platforms like Zoom for health visits. The study emphasized how important it is for telehealth platforms to consider their most vulnerable users while developing tools. Specifically, the researchers recommended telehealth pilot tests should include people who speak languages other than English.
mHealth Intelligence: Telehealth Use Most Popular Among Young Women (2/24) – According to a recent report by Trilliant Health, about 60 percent of telehealth users are female, who are mostly using virtual care for behavioral health services. The two main types of patients that engaged in telehealth use during the pandemic were single users who prioritized COVID-19 safety and testing, and women between the ages of 21 and 40 who primarily sought out behavioral health services. Researchers concluded that, in the absence of alternative choices, telehealth appears to be a good substitute.
PYMTS: Telehealth Providers Race to Retool Patient Payments Experience (2/24) – A recent report
by PYMTS and American Express found that consumers faced a range of challenges in paying for their telehealth appointments. The report found that 47 percent with out-of-pocket costs did not know if their health care provider offered affordable payment options and 40 percent said their inability to afford care or treatments caused them to forego necessary visits. Telehealth providers need to prevent missed visits by offering more transparent billing as well as a variety of different payment options for patients.
Medical Press: Telemedicine can mitigate barriers for access to obesity care, weight loss management (2/23) – According to a recent study in Obesity
journal, telemedicine offers emerging opportunities to reduce barriers to obesity care faced by health care providers, patients and health plans. The authors of this study note that telemedicine allows primary care providers to make referrals beyond their geographic locations which addresses one barrier for improving obesity treatment. By decreasing the time and resource commitments needed for frequent counseling appointments, telemedicine may also help improve long-term adherence.
Brookings Institution: 5 building blocks to help achieve greater health equity (2/22) – A recent report published by Brookings Institution highlighted that telehealth could reduce inequities in care because it brings health care services directly to a patient’s home, allowing a more comprehensive understanding of the conditions in which a patient resides. Telehealth can also improve access and the quality of care for people who are unable or less willing to seek traditional, in-person health services. As caregivers refine this tool, and as federal investment in broadband improves access for more communities, telehealth could prove to be an important way to reduce inequities in care.
McKinsey & Company: Patients love telehealth—physicians are not so sure (2/22) – A recent report from McKinsey & Company found that consumers still prefer the convenience of digital engagement and virtual-care options, whereas physicians would prefer returning to in-person care. Two-thirds of physicians and 60 percent of patients said they agreed that virtual health is more convenient than in-person care for patients, but only 36 percent of physicians find it more convenient for themselves. As such, it will be important to engage physicians in the design of new virtual-care models.
mHealth Intelligence: Black Cardiovascular Disease Patients Prefer Text-Based BP Monitoring (2/22) – According to a recent study in JAMA Network Open, Black patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) prefer recording blood pressure (BP) via a text-based program rather than an online patient portal. Researchers focused primarily on how demographics related to results and the number of BP measurements between the two groups when analyzing data. The results show that Black patients with CVD who use Medicaid or Medicare insurance prefer and are far more likely to engage in a text-based BP monitoring program instead of using an online patient portal.
Patient Engagement HIT: Using Telehealth, Virtual Care for an Enhanced Consumer Experience (2/21) – According to a recent report
from McKinsey, telehealth utilization has dropped off since its peak highs after the initial onset of the pandemic. However, consumer access is still 38 times higher than it was before COVID-19. Convenient care, coupled with the potential for lower out-of-pocket costs, is creating the perfect environment for consumer telehealth utilization and access to flourish. From a network perspective, telehealth and virtual health also offer a multiplier effect extending limited specialty and subspecialty resources, creating more opportunity for lower acuity engagement, and reserving physical resources (beds, equipment, etc.) for those who need it most.
mHealth Intelligence: Telehealth Adoption Highest Among Diabetes, GI Care Providers (2/21) – According to a recent survey
by Doximity and CareJourney, physicians specializing in endocrinology and gastroenterology had the highest rates of telehealth adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic. With regard to physician specialties, the report shows that telehealth adoption rates were highest among those who cared for chronically ill patients. Further, the report includes data on how telehealth has impacted patient trust in historically marginalized populations. Sixty-seven percent of physicians said that access to telehealth helped them build or maintain trust with patients from marginalized communities.
Healthcare IT News: Tech can help address the behavioral health crisis, says AMA (2/21) – A new report
by the American Medical Association outlines the role digital tools can play in supporting the integrated delivery of behavioral and physical health care. The report noted several solutions that can support and add value to the behavioral health integration model along the patient journey, including incorporating evidence-based digital health solutions and enabling technology into standard workflows, expanding coverage and fair payment, and increasing federal funding. Establishing a relationship with telepsychiatry clinicians can empower providers across the care continuum with the support and information they need to fully manage the health of their patient population.
State Telehealth News and Activity
NBC 12: Telemedicine company brings virtual COVID test program to Virginia schools (2/24) – Proven, a telemedicine company, has used telehealth to ensure COVID-19 tests are done accurately, all while remaining virtual. The company partnered with First Call PPE and TestHere.com in New Jersey and Virginia to bring their virtual testing program to nearly 70 schools, including Richmond Public Schools, particularly as more districts rely more on mitigation efforts like testing to keep children in classrooms.
Florida Politics: House poised to pass bills on telehealth, drug overdoses, peer specialists (2/23) – The Florida House discussed three health care bills this week, including one telehealth bill (SB 312) by Sen. Manny Diaz which would have allowed for telephone audio-only calls to be considered telehealth. The House added an amendment that removed this change, which would not allow for audio-only calls.
Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus: Legislators, healthcare professionals push to allow more nurses to work in Minnesota through the Interstate Nurse Licensure Compact
(2/21) – Minnesota Senator Carla Nelson was joined by a group of legislators and health care professionals on Monday to spotlight Senate Bill 2302, which would have Minnesota join the Nurse Licensure Compact along with 39 other states. A coalition of 60 organizations representing nurses, providers, telehealth supporters, and military family advocates support Minnesota joining the compact, which also has overwhelming support from Minnesota nurses. A 2022 survey by the Minnesota Board of Nursing shows nurses favor Minnesota’s joining the compact by a ratio of nearly 10 to 1. The Alliance for Connected Care wrote a letter of support for this bill.
National Law Review: COVID-19: State Law Telehealth Update: State Licensure Requirements Persist, Permissible Telehealth Modalities Generally Expand, and Insurance Parity Laws Ensure Reimbursement (2/21) – This three-part series explores key state regulatory considerations related to the provision of care through telehealth, including state licensure requirements, the establishment of the patient-provider relationship, and permissible modalities for the delivery of health care in a particular state, and Medicaid and insurance regulations that affect reimbursement and payment parity. Although telehealth capabilities enable providers to render care across state lines, state licensure laws often prohibit providers not licensed in the state in which the patient is located from providing care to that patient. Pandemic licensure flexibilities allowed health care providers to more readily provide telehealth services to patients originating in a state other than where the health care provider was located and licensed, extending access to care in much needed ways when most in-person non-emergent care was significantly reduced nationwide.
Interested in tracking where states are with their COVID-19 emergency declarations and licensure flexibilities? The Alliance created a chart outlining which states have lifted their COVID-19 emergency waivers, and how this has impacted telehealth and licensing flexibilities in each state. For regular updates, visit this link.
Telehealth News and Market Developments
mHealth Intelligence: Highmark Launches Virtual Type 2 Diabetes Care Program (2/23) – Highmark Health has launched a virtual care program for adults with type 2 diabetes that includes personalized care management, remote patient monitoring, and telehealth. The program will assign a care coordinator to develop a personalized management plan, which includes help with medication adherence, diet, and exercise, among other diabetes management strategies. Program members reported losing weight, which dropped an average of 13.3 pounds. Virtual care can help bring down the cost of diabetes which is one of the top ten most expensive chronic diseases.
Healthcare IT News: CIOs looking to expand telehealth and make it part of the permanent workflow (2/22) – CIOs and other health IT leaders are pondering how to implement telehealth systems that span the health system or hospital and enable physicians to pull the technology into their permanent workflow. Further, many executives are even considering how to extend the technology deeper within the hospital, into all departments. Joseph DeVivo, president of hospitals and health systems at Teladoc Health, emphasizes equipping every patient room with telehealth capabilities and virtual access to provide caregivers with immediate access to patients for a variety of use cases.
Healthcare IT News: How a medical university's Telehealth Service Implementation Model can help you (2/21) – The Medical University of South Carolina’s Center for Telehealth developed the Telehealth Service Implementation Model (TSIM), which provides a telehealth framework for telehealth service development, implementation and sustainability. Wellpath, one of the largest correctional health care organizations in the country, leveraged this model to create and scale an emergency medicine telehealth service to local government county jails and state prisons across the country. Shawn Valenta, vice president for healthcare cloud in clinical services at Wellpath, highlights that this model can be the foundation for a national telehealth service.