ATA Recap Part 2: Moving Past Barriers

May 12th, 2017 By InTouch Health

As with many maturing industries, not only is telehealth evolving, but the trends that drive its evolution are as well. The American Telemedicine Association Conference & Tradeshow (ATA) held a couple weeks ago highlighted key evolutions in the telehealth sphere. While there are still barriers to widespread telehealth adoption, leaders are attacking those barriers head-on to help advance the telehealth industry.

In the session “Health System Case Studies Demonstrating Successful Telemedicine Implementation,” speakers shared tips on moving forward despite the barriers. Here are some key questions panelists suggested telehealth program managers should ask themselves as they build their telehealth programs:

  • Why are we implementing telehealth? This is the first question because it drives the mission and vision behind a telehealth program.
  • Who will operationalize the program? Someone must be designated as the project champion, who will own and support the program at all levels. This person will outline the program governance, definition, road map, etc.
  • How will we standardize the program? There are various ways to standardize – everything from developing a support model, intake form, use turnkey technology, and more.
  • How will we measure our program? The program will only be successful if it’s tracked against metrics. Key metrics can include patient and clinician satisfaction, volumes, reimbursement, clinical quality outcomes, efficiency, and cost savings/avoidance.

Furthermore, in the session “Telepediatric Outcomes: A Prospective and Retrospective Assessment,” speakers highlighted both barriers and facilitators around education and training, process and workflows, communication, and technology. Key points include:

  • Communicate the value of a telehealth program to all stakeholders
  • Engage local site personnel to facilitate relationships between the hub and spoke sites
  • Develop a rapid, reliable method of telehealth service activation
  • Develop guidelines – and communicate those guidelines – for telehealth service activation
  • Empower remote clinicians to have supportive communication with in-person clinicians and personnel
  • Use a simple, highly reliable technology that fits the care space

Barriers still exist, but we – clinicians, administrators, legislators, telehealth providers, and more – must fight the good fight to enable access to care anywhere.