The NRTRC will form a Policy Committee and will continue regular meeting with the Technical Committee in support of overcoming barriers and challenges to implementing telehealth programs.
In 2016, the NRTRC contracted with the University of Washington to perform a needs assessment including a survey, key informant interviews, and a series of focus groups. Survey results indicated that 95% of respondents viewed telehealth as a significant part of their strategic plan.
The respondents identified barriers to implementing telehealth programs: identifying providers to provide service, billing and reimbursement, cost and sustainability and engaging clinical staff were among the top. Other challenges included interoperability (or lack thereof) of platforms and technology, integrating with HIE, and how to work with state lawmakers to affect telehealth policy.
NRTRC has identified areas in which to assist a program to include; technical support, lessons learned, legal and regulatory, strategic planning, and education and promotion of telehealth to providers and patients.
Based upon the 2016 Needs Assessment and at the recommendation of Advisory Board members, an NRTRC Policy Committee will be formed. State telehealth leaders will be convened by video to share ideas, successes, challenges and assistance to others in the region. For example, past efforts between Washington and Oregon board members have been to share legislative language and to testify at the other state’s legislative hearing. The group will strategize ways to address legal and regulatory issues in the region identified in the 2016 Needs Assessment, such as cross state licensure, regional interstate agreements, and hospital credentialing and privileging. The Committee will liaise with and utilize the resources of the National Policy TRC, the Center for Connected Health Policy.
The policy committee will include interested board members, state experts and NRTRC staff. The committee will share challenges and successes among states and address issues from a regional perspective. The NRTRC will continue efforts to address these issues in newsletters, webinars, and conferences. NRTRC members will continue to be involved with actions such as serving on the Policy Committee of the American Telemedicine Association. Several Advisory Board members have helped steer telehealth legislation and state-based rules through to enactment and will continue this effort as needed.
- Convene state telehealth leaders to share ideas, successes, challenges and assistance to others in the region
- Strategize opportunities to address identified legal and regulatory issues within the region
- Collaborate on the key policy issues identified in the 2016 NRTRC Survey and stakeholders
- Cross State Licensure
- Regional Interstate Agreements
- Hospital Credentialing and Privileging
- Utilize and collaborate with the Center for Connected Health Policy on issues
The NRTRC Technical Committee will continue its regular meetings of IT staff and technicians supporting telehealth networks and programs through the region. The Technical Committee addresses new advances in technology, assists one another with technical challenges, and shares lessons learned. It represents a pool of technical expertise that can offer guidance to those new to telehealth. It also can liaise with and utilize the Telehealth Technology Assessment TRC on industry updates and equipment assessment.
- Continue regular meetings of technical staff supporting telehealth programs and networks in the NRTRC to share information on technical solutions, lessons learned, and assist one another with technical issues
- Utilize and collaborate with TTAC, the Telehealth Technology Assessment TRC, to learn about technical updates in the industry and equipment selection