ATA Recap Part 1: The Impact Of Quality And Leadership

May 4th, 2017  by InTouch Health

The American Telemedicine Association Conference & Tradeshow (ATA) is the world’s premiere event for the telehealth industry. This year, a key trend emerged around understanding the impact of quality and leadership in telemedicine. Many sessions delved into both topics – here are the highlights:

With the rising demand for telehealth, the need for telehealth integration with electronic medical records (EMR) is rising as well. The session, “Connecting Telehealth Services with EMRs and Patient Apps” dug into this topic, with the key takeaway being important patient information must flow from an EMR to a telehealth session, back to the EMR. Not only does integrating a telehealth program into existing clinical information provide quality, it also allows for ongoing patient care with valuable clinical information to have a successful telehealth session. With the opportunity to integrate telehealth with EMR’s, clinicians can benefit from a seamless workflow and patients have a better experience.

In the “Maturity Advancements in a Large National Telehealth Program Design” session, panelists shared tips from their experience in implementing enterprise telehealth programs. According to panelists, the starting point should answer “Why are you looking at a centralized enterprise telehealth model?” Answering this question will set the foundation for the strategy in developing an enterprise telehealth program.

Another tip was to avoid the mistake of not having an internal clinical leader. This role is important as they lead the development of clinical protocols, guidelines, and workflows tied to a telehealth program. Additionally, panelists suggest designating an operational leader who can optimize processes post go-live to address challenges, user adoption, and make improvements to help ensure a successful enterprise telehealth program.

Lastly, in the session titled, “The Increasing Importance of Quality,” Dr. Herb Rogove, Chief Medical Officer at InTouch Health, stressed that “quality should be the same for telemedicine as an in-person visit. Physicians should comply with established metrics and guidelines just as if they’re with a patient in-person.”

We often hear the saying, “It’s not about the technology; it’s about the people and workflow.” Technology is the enabler of care from a distance, but it shouldn’t change the quality protocols or processes followed in-person or remote care. If a telehealth platform can ensure privacy, security, documentation, and continuity, then quality and safety will follow.