AMA offers further guidance for telehealth rollouts
The American Medical Association has put together a new guide to help providers implement real-time virtual visits between clinicians and patients.
WHY IT MATTERS
The 128-page update to AMA's Digital Health Implementation Playbook Series comes as telehealth adoption is increasing by leaps amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Use of virtual care technologies had already doubled between 2016 to 2019, and since the COVID-19 public health emergency, more and more overtaxed health systems have been availing themselves of tools that enable care to be delivered remotely, keeping patients and healthcare professionals away from potential infection.
AMA's playbook series offers 12-step processes to help with rollouts of various digital health tools. With regard to telehealth specifically, the guide highlights the importances of identifying compelling use cases, putting together teams comprising the right stakeholders, key metrics to define success, how to assess and contract with vendors and more.
Subsequent steps delve into details of telehealth program implementation: designing workflows, change management for care teams and scaling up.
AMA notes that the telehealth playbook series can be used in conjunction with its guide for remote patient monitoring, as more and more providers get used to the idea of using devices, and sensors to capture and record patient generated health data.
THE LARGER TREND
As the coronavirus crisis has unfolded across the U.S., more and more provider organizations are using telehealth and remote monitoring to help patients manage suspected COVID-19 symptoms and also deliver virtual care for other patients managing chronic conditions.
AMA, long a supported of telehealth, has made a series of resources available to help providers weather the storm. During the pandemic, the federal government has taken unprecedented steps to widen access to telehealth: increasing reimbursements, removing regulatory barriers and more.
Meanwhile, the array of telehealth vendors is bigger than ever. Healthcare IT News is maintaining an updated guide to many of the companies offering virtual care tools that could help practices manage.
ON THE RECORD
"For medical practices and health systems looking to integrate telemedicine as quickly as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Playbook series not only offers a clear and efficient path to scaled implementation, but also access to institutional knowledge and best practices curated from experts in the field," said AMA Chair Dr. Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, in a statement.
"The AMA is committed to making technology an asset, not a time-consuming burden, and the Playbook's roadmap offers a proven course to telemedicine implementation when physicians need it most," he said.