News and Reports
JAMA Telehealth Studies: (8/3) – Two studies published this week in JAMA highlight barriers to telehealth. View the STAT News article here.
The New York Times: (8/3) – The biggest hurdle to widespread adoption by both the government and insurers is the potential cost. “We need to give providers time to get more comfortable,” said Dr. Scott Josephs, the chief medical officer for Cigna. To make remote medicine successful and worthwhile, doctors and medical groups need to invest in technology and train staff. “If they don’t have the time, they won’t make the investments,” he said.
Healthcare IT News: (8/3) – Children’s Hospital Colorado expanded their telemedicine program during COVID-19 and experienced a 5,500% growth in telehealth visits in less than one month. “As our hospital has returned to more normal operations, our system is much better prepared to address a potential reemergence of COVID-19, if it occurs as numerous models predict,” said John F. “Fred” Thomas, director of telehealth services at Children’s Hospital Colorado. “Additionally, it has allowed us to evaluate a right-sizing of our telemedicine capacities and a thorough evaluation of right-fit for proportion of telemedicine and in-person visits.”
Center for Connected Health Policy: (8/4) – CCHP released an issue brief on policy barriers FQHCs face in utilizing telehealth for opioid use disorder (OUD) pre and during the COVID-19 PHE. The issue brief provides a comparison of reimbursement and prescribing policies pre-COVID and during the COVID-19 PHE. CCHP notes several barriers that still remain for FQHCs to deliver MAT services via telehealth, including the different rate FQHCs receive for delivering telehealth services compared to their normal PPS rate, as well as issues around broadband connectivity, patient and provider education, and liability coverage.
The New York Times: (8/4) – The op-ed in the New York Times highlights the potential for telehealth to expand access to medication-assisted treatment and MAT providers. Silvana Mazzella, associated executive director at Prevention Point said telemedicine has helped the patients who can use it. “It’s a reduction of the hassle, wait times, anxiety and fear of withdrawal in a waiting room,” she said. She said telemedicine patients have proven more likely to fill their prescriptions than patients who had appeared in person in the past.
Healthcare IT News: (8/4) – Patients and caregivers have become comfortable with online and virtual care models with the expansion of telehealth services during COVID-19. These patients will likely demand a permanent shift to virtual care delivery in the future.
United.AI: (8/5) – Alliance Board Member Dave Ryan with Intel was interviewed to discuss Intel’s Health & Life Sciences Business, AI and telehealth. “Now spurred by the pandemic crisis and its impact, health care delivery systems around the world are forced to adopt telehealth or collapse. This sudden rush to implement is now proving those long held beliefs to be true and care at a distance to be both vital and highly viable,” he said.
The Commonwealth Fund: (8/5) – The Commonwealth Fund issued a report on what a post-pandemic regulatory and payment landscape should look like. Dr. Ateev Mehrotra and others and others rightly note that policymakers look to alternative payment models, including ACOs, for ways to expand telehealth coverage. The report offers six recommendations to encourage high-value telemedicine.
Fierce Healthcare: (8/5) – A new survey of more than 1,000 consumers age 64 and older found that nearly one-third of consumers age 64 and older say they monitor their health using a wearable. In addition, prior to COVID-19 only 1 in 10 used telemedicine. According to the survey, during COVID-19, 44% of seniors have used telemedicine and 43% say they intend on using telemedicine once COVID-19 passes. We are tracking these and other surveys on the Alliance website.
mHealthIntelligence: (8/6) – Krista Drobac, Executive Director of the Alliance for Connected Care was quoted in an mHealthIntelligence article on the proposed 2021 PFS and White House executive order on improving rural health and telehealth access, which were released this week.
- “The Alliance for Connected Care is pleased to see the Administration prioritizing access to telehealth services,” added Krista Drobac, that organization’s executive director. “Our members are looking forward to utilizing new telehealth codes and continuing to leverage some existing telehealth tools after the pandemic.” Krista also highlighted Congress’ necessary role in continuing access to telehealth.
- “The vast majority of barriers to telehealth are statutory,” she pointed out. “We need Congress to take clear, permanent action to expand access to telehealth for seniors, and to allow them to use it in any location. Without these statutory barriers addressed permanently, CMS cannot take the thoughtful, measured steps needed to allow the medical community to plan for, and carefully implement long-term telehealth strategies to benefit seniors.”
Business Wire: (8/6) – New research from Everyday Health and Klick Health finds almost half of all people surveyed said they prefer healthcare professionals who offer phone or web-conference-based consultations.
Business Wire: (8/6) – Cerner and Xealth announced a collaboration to give patients access to their own digital data so they can be more engaged in their treatment plans.
Multi-Governor Telehealth Announcement: (8/7) - The governors of Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Colorado announced they will be working together to identify best practices that support telehealth services. Their work will be guided by seven principles including: access, confidentiality, equity, standard of care, stewardship, patient choice and payment/reimbursement. View the press release. Coverage: mHealthIntelligence