Future Health - 9/29/20

Delivering care in the new virtual world… 

National Quality Forum (NQF) High Impact Opportunities –  The NQF recently released a set of ten recommendations that would help the health care community provide consistently high-quality care for every person in the U.S. by 2030 – if they were adopted. The recommendations evolved from a convened group of about 100 leaders and stakeholders. The outcomes of those discussions can be more fully defined in the hyperlink. The report emphasizes the need for high-quality care, citing medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. (about 250,000 deaths each year). The quick version; however, is as follows:

  1. Implement a single-person identifier to match people to health records across all care settings.
  2. Standardize quality data to enable improvement and outcomes analysis.
  3. Adopt population health-based payment as the primary payment model.
  4. Standardize data and interventions to reduce disparities and achieve health equity.
  5. Create actionable intelligence to better educate and engage healthcare consumers.
  6. Ensure advanced technologies improve safe and appropriate outcomes.
  7. Integrate virtual and innovative care models into the delivery system.
  8. Improve access to optimal care by recognizing clinical licenses across the U.S.
  9. Accelerate adoption of leading practices.
  10. Cultivate workforce competencies in safe, appropriate, person-centered care.

Telehealth Task Force Releases Policy Recommendations – A task force established by the American Telemedicine Association, Alliance for Connected Care and National Committee for Quality Assurance released a report in mid-September. The report comes at a time when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid as well as the private insurers are weighing how and when to expand telehealth coverage once the emergency phase ends. The task force noted that many of the pre-existing limitations were set when the use of telehealth coverage was largely unproven and there were concerns about overuse, cost, and quality of service. But the pandemic has put many of those questions to rest. Specific recommendations include:

  • “Removal of strict limits on sites where telehealth visits may originate, conditions clinicians may treat, and which clinicians and providers may use telehealth,
  • Accept that telehealth visits can be used to “establish clinician/patient relationships” rather than serve as a follow-on to existing relationships,
  • Allow audio-only telehealth visits where evidence demonstrates such practices to be effective, safe, and appropriate, or where care would likely be hampered without access to such services,
  • Allow the use of asynchronous telehealth (e.g., remote patient monitoring) while concurrently generating more data and information on best practices to ensure quality, safety, and program integrity,
  • Adopt policies related to use of all telehealth modalities based on evidence related to the effectiveness, safety, and ability to increase access to care,
  • Allow insurers to provide telehealth technology (e.g. tablets, smartphones, and other devices) as supplemental benefits; and,
  • Importantly, allow telehealth services across state lines by expediting licensure reciprocity between states while simultaneously maintaining patient protections and disciplinary actions.
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