News and Reports
Healthcare Innovation: (6/8) – Intermountain is expanding the list of conditions for its in-home, hospital-level care offering, which includes various remote patient monitoring, telemedicine capabilities, and virtual urgent care visits. See press release.
Healthcare IT News: (6/8) - "Telehealth solutions need to be deployed in a culturally competent, equitable way to ensure they reach the communities that need the most support," said David Smith, executive director for the Medicaid Transformation Project in an interview with Healthcare IT News. "Tactically, this means ensuring these solutions offer appropriate language capabilities, provide the ability to communicate in multiple modalities (including SMS), and factor in how different cultures interact with the healthcare system, especially healthcare workers, he said.
STAT: (6/9) – “I can’t imagine going back,” Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, told STAT during a live virtual event. “People recognize the value of this, so it seems like it would not be a good thing to force our beneficiaries to go back to in-person visits.” Verma also said telemedicine visits jumped to more than 1 million a week, compared to about 12,000 before March.
Fierce HealthCare: (6/9) – Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Amwell said they averaged 5,000 telehealth visits a day – now they see between 45,000-50,000. Further, 75% of clients’ patient visits are online, up from just 2% - 3%.
mHealthIntelligence: (6/9) – An mHealth group has unveiled a step-count algorithm designed to make it easier for providers and researchers to use telehealth platforms that incorporate wearables. According to the group, accurate gait assessments serve as a diagnostic and prognostic tool for neurological conditions, such as stroke, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and partial paralysis; a general assessment of aging; and as a proxy for assessing cognition.
Becker’s Hospital Review: (6/9) - By mid-April, UPMC was averaging around 47,500 virtual visits per week. UPMC's telemedicine increase has predominantly been in the ambulatory space, replacing traditional in-clinic face-to-face visits. UPMC plans to sustain 50% of telemedicine growth post-COVID-19 pandemic.
Fierce Healthcare: (6/10) - According to data from UnitedHealth Group and consumer research company CivicScience, 29% of consumers said they used telehealth in May up from 8% in December. The percentage of consumers who don't plan to use telehealth dropped from 72% in December to 47% in May.
Dark Reading: (6/10) – The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently began working with leading industry vendors and subject matter experts to undertake a comprehensive analysis of telemedicine services to map out the attack surface, identify the key potential points of failure, and devise new telemedicine cybersecurity standards for the industry to follow. Read more about the project here.
mHealthIntelligence: (6/11) – The FCC is looking to expand the Broadcast Internet spectrum to give healthcare providers more opportunities to expand their reach. In a Declaratory Ruling issued this week, the FCC clarified that long-standing television station ownership restrictions don’t apply to the leasing of spectrum for such uses as telemedicine, smart agriculture, and smart cars.
Healthcare IT News: (6/11) - Athenahealth announced this week that it launched an embedded telehealth tool to allow practitioners to conduct virtual visits without having to download separate software or use another third-party app. According to the company, "the athenahealth network saw a 3,400% overall increase in daily telehealth visits from mid-February to late April."
Mobihealthnews: (6/11) – In a recent HIMSS Digital presentation, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) professors explained that telemedicine educational programs can be integrated into a range of healthcare curriculums and colleges, and can benefit everyone from undergraduates to practicing medical providers.
Inside Health Policy: (6/12) – Stakeholders and policymakers continue to call for some of the relaxed telehealth requirements to be continued after the pandemic. Jim Parker, senior advisor for health reform at HHS, said at a Bipartisan Policy Center event that the Trump administration is seeking to ensure available technology can support a telehealth expansion, with HHS working alongside the Federal Communication Commission and the Department of Agriculture. He said HHS could create a reimbursement policy for telehealth, but it might not work without available broadband or technology. Kripa Sreepada, health policy advisor to Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), said at the BPC event that there is bipartisan interest in making some of the telehealth changes permanent. However, Sreepada said more studies should be done on whether providers prefer telehealth over in-person visits, as well as which services should be offered using only audio. A spokesperson for Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who was an original sponsor of the CONNECT for Health Act, said the senator was pleased to see provisions of the bill be enacted during COVID, but is advocating for them to be permanent.