News and Reports
Health Leaders: (7/27) – A recent survey of nearly 1,000 healthcare professionals in 35 medical specialties found almost three-quarters of respondents say their organization has increased their use of telehealth services due to COVID-19, and almost half say they have invested in new technology solutions to be able to communicate with patients remotely.
mHealthIntelligence: (7/27) – The Alliance for Connected Care and other digital health group Legislative Advocacy Kickoff with the House Telehealth Caucus last week was highlighted in this article, which also highlights the multitude of actions surrounding making telehealth flexibilities enacted during COVID-19 permanent and increasing funding for FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
Healthcare Dive: (7/27) – Healthcare Dive examined the state of telehealth six months into declaration of the PHE, including federal and state flexibilities and what may be made permanent. The article is part of a series examining the state of healthcare six months into the PHE declaration.
Fast Company: (7/27) – Dr. Mimi Winsberg, Cofounder and Chief Medical Officer of Brightside, a mental health telemedicine service issued an op-ed highlighting the use of telemental health during COVID-19 and the impact on reducing mental health stigma. The op-ed also discussed the use of telehealth to manage chronic conditions.
HSC News: (7/27) – The Keck Medicine of USC lung transplant team launched a two-year observational pilot study to monitor patients post-discharge using Bluetooth-enabled devices and computer tablets. The devices measured blood pressure, heart rate, weight, blood glucose, oxygen saturation and pulmonary function. The researchers discovered that monitored patients had 44% fewer hospital readmissions and spent 54% fewer days in the hospital when they were readmitted.
Becker’s Hospital Review: (7/27) – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota announced that they will extend eligibility for expanded telehealth coverage for behavioral health services, medication management and physical, speech and occupational therapy through December 31 of this year. The health insurer is also covering all telehealth services for Blue Cross members at the same reimbursement rate as in-person visits.
HIT Consultant: (7/28) – The Alliance Executive Director Krista Drobac was quoted in support of the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act. “The Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act will ensure that this access does not disappear once the coronavirus emergency is over,” she said in the announcement. Krista Drobac, executive director of the Alliance for Connected Care, noted that telehealth services have been a lifeline for more than 9 million seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the article notes.
Better Medicare Alliance: (7/28) – BMA released a report on telehealth usage amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The report finds that Medicare Advantage’s risk-based structure allowed for faster adoption of telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic and was particularly useful in expanding telehealth in the behavioral health sector. The report also outlines five policy recommendations for improving telehealth adoption. View the press release and report.
HIT Infrastructure: (7/28) – NTT DATA Services recently announced a partnership with Teladoc Health, R1 RCM, Enli, and VisitPay to build Nucleus for Healthcare, a framework that provides advanced digital capabilities across the care delivery continuum and allows organizations to interchange solution components as clinical and business needs evolve.
mHealthIntelligence: (7/28) – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts announced that it has added telemental health services to its telehealth platform, will expand access to an mHealth platform that helps address mild to moderate mental health concerns and will maintain reimbursement parity for telehealth visits – including those done over a phone – beyond the coronavirus pandemic.
Health Leaders: (7/28) – A new survey finds that 91% of survey respondents who have had a telehealth appointment were likely to schedule another telehealth appointment instead of an in-person visit, and more than 90% of survey respondents said they were satisfied with their overall telehealth visit experience.
STAT News: (7/29) – Dr. Dorothy Novick, M.D., a pediatrician in Philadelphia issued an op-ed on the shift to telehealth, which has been essential to continuing to provide care at a distance, is convenient and reduces transportation barriers, but has highlighted what may be lost in a virtual visit such as human touch and the ability to examine patients in-person.
Fierce Healthcare: (7/29) – Anthem CEO Gail Boudreaux said on a call with investors Wednesday that use of telemedicine for behavioral health among its members is 56 times higher than that of pre-COVID-19 levels. Virtual visits are up 300% compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Forbes: (7/29) – An op-ed in Forbes suggests that telehealth will become a permanent part of our future, but may not be until payers’ and providers’ goals are aligned with a market-based model.
HIT Consultant: (7/29) – Philips announced the launch of its remote monitoring and defibrillator solution for pre-hospital settings in the U.S. The software platform provides real-time transfer of clinical data and events, interactive ECG measurement, and two-way communication, enabling rapid clinical and transport decision support and seamless electronic patient care recording (ePCR) integration outside the hospital in emergency settings.
Post Register: (7/29) – The Idaho Telehealth Task Force, assembled in July 2019 to analyze the state of telehealth in Idaho and craft recommendations for reform, are considering broadening the legal definition of telehealth. An executive order last month by Gov. Brad Little permanently lifted many telehealth restrictions, but members of the task force think there’s still room to improve.
mHealthIntelligence: (7/30) – Connecticut lawmakers have approved a bill which would extend several telehealth flexibilities until next March, saying they want to study the issue more before addressing permanent coverage. The bill now heads to the Governors desk for signature.
mHealthIntelligence: (7/31) – Senate HELP Committee Chair Alexander (R-TN) introduced the Telehealth Modernization Act (S. 4375), which would make permanent certain telehealth flexibilities under the Medicare program related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The article also mentions the Taskforce on Telehealth Policy's work and the 340 group telehealth advocacy letter, co-led by the Alliance which called for telehealth access created during the COVID-19 pandemic to be made permanent.