Urgent Need For More Telehealth Research: A Call To Action

I am pleased to share a commentary/editorial piece titled “An Emergent Research and Policy Framework for Telehealth”, which was published on eGems – Generating Evidence & Methods to improve patient outcomes. Telehealth has demonstrated its essential opportunity to expand access to care; improve the quality of care; and enhance cost-effectiveness in care delivery. There is, as indicated in this paper from Margo Edmunds, PhD, at AcademyHealth, and other leading thinkers in the field, an urgent need for enhanced research to inform best practices and to evaluate the outcomes of telehealth-related care. I was privileged to participate in this process as well.

As stated in the abstract, the article shares the following information related to the vast growing field of telemedicine:

Context: Telehealth is a fast-growing sector in healthcare, using a variety of technologies to exchange – information across locations and improve access, quality, and outcomes across the continuum of care. ousands of studies and hundreds of systematic reviews have been done, but their variability leaves many questions about e ectiveness, implementation priorities, and return on investment.

Objectives: ere is an urgent need for a systematic, policy-relevant framework to integrate regulatory, operational, and clinical factors and guide future investments in telehealth research and practice.

Methods: An invited multidisciplinary group of 21 experts from AcademyHealth, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy (KP), and the Physician Insurers Association of America (PIAA) met to review and discuss the components of a dra framework for policy- relevant telehealth research. e framework was revised and presented in a challenge workshop at Concordium 2016, and some additional re nements were made. e current framework encompasses the regulatory and payment policy context for telehealth; delivery system factors; and outcomes of telehealth interventions.

Findings: Based on the feedback at Concordium 2016, the framework seems to have potential to help educate policy-makers, payers, and health systems about the value of telehealth and to frame discussions about implementation barriers, including risk management concerns, technology costs, and organizational culture. However, questions remain about how to disseminate and use the framework to help coordinate policy, research, and implementation e orts in the delivery system.

Please take a minute to read “An Emergent Research and Policy Framework for Telehealth” and let me know your thoughts of our journal article!