The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a growing number of healthcare organizations and individuals turn to telehealth as a critical solution to improve access to quality care that protects both providers and patients from transmitting the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization have advocated for telemedicine to monitor patients and reduce risks, and as part of the recently-enacted CARES Act, Congress appropriated $200 million for the Federal Communications Commission to support health care providers’ use of telehealth services.
On March 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a series of temporary waivers and an Interim Final Rule with Comment in response to the pandemic. They provide unprecedented relaxation of regulations in a broad range of areas, including the promotion of telehealth services. The purpose is to increase the healthcare workforce capacity by promoting telehealth and allow professionals to work at the top of their license by waiving licensing requirements for the purposes of reimbursement.
The impact and rise in virtual consults have been nothing short of remarkable. Consider these examples: In one day, Duke Health did about 1,030 video visits and 3,400 telephone consultations – up from around 100 visits per month prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Kaiser Permanente expanded their telehealth services with 80% of clinic visits done virtually and two-thirds of specialty medicine visits done virtually.
The meteoric rise in telemedicine consults leaves many users wondering if the patient data captured during virtual visits is integrated into the electronic health record (EHR). The answer is yes, but the key to improving care and outcomes lies in effectively harnessing and interpreting this wealth of information.
Effective Data Management
Telehealth interoperability encompasses a range of factors, but to work optimally will require technology standards that enable clinicians to initiate workflows from within their own familiar EHR, rather than managing multiple logins and navigating EHRs at remote locations. As a result, the patient record should be updated in real-time with data from multiple sources and include summarized results of consultations captured in an integrated platform.
It’s a matter of getting data in front of clinicians, connecting systems and normalizing the data in a way that makes sense in the clinicians’ workflow. This requires accurate patient identification and ability to share the correct information.
Evoke360: Managing Telehealth Virtual “Visit” Data
To optimize telehealth, it is necessary for many healthcare organizations to adopt technology solutions, like Evoke360, a value-based care, population health management solution built for true data transparency.
Designed and developed from a provider and patient-centric perspective, Evoke360 changes the way information is shared, programs implemented, and care delivered to improve quality, reduce administrative burden, enable value-based care and enhance financial performance and collaboration.
Evoke360 ensures that patient data gleaned during a telehealth visit is incorporated into the patient’s health record with minimal claims lag. This data, in turn, enables providers with a 360-degree view of the patient, to proactively close gaps in care and improve care coordination.