Health Systems Transformation

Telehealth

There are many opportunities to leverage telehealth and telemedicine to increase access to preventive and specialty care, address health disparities affecting vulnerable populations, and save costs. For rural and underserved areas in particular, telehealth can reduce transportation barriers and address workforce shortages due to shared health professional staffing. State and territorial public health agencies (S/THAs) can be leaders or partners in initiatives that promote telehealth. Given S/THA interest and needs on telehealth, ASTHO’s Center for Population Health Strategies has supported several activities including direct technical assistance to states, developing resources, and hosting public webinars. Available resources are described below.

Written Resources:

Telehealth Resource Guide

The ASTHO Telehealth Resource Guide summarizes resources available for state and territorial health officials and their staff as they look for innovative ways to increase access to care for vulnerable populations and improve population health. In addition to describing key issues and resources, the guide highlights telehealth programs in ten states to demonstrate the variety and range of ways that states are coordinating and leveraging telehealth. This guide was developed by ASTHO with support from the Health Resources & Services Administration and updated in 2017. The 2016 version is also available.

Utah Promotes Prevention and Improved Access to Care through Online Continuing Education and Telemedicine Initiatives

This “Have You Shared” story describes how the Utah Department of Health is using online continuing education to coach providers on evidence-based prevention and promotion strategies for diabetes and other chronic conditions. In addition, Utah is advancing policies that support telemedicine and providing funding to support infrastructure to increase access to care and reduce healthcare disparities.

Medicaid-Public Health Resource Library

The Medicaid-Public Health Library provides examples of approaches that Medicaid and public health agencies have leveraged in partnership to address mutual health goals. The library includes multiple resources related to telehealth from state and territorial health agencies, state Medicaid agencies, and other external organizations.

Webinars:

Improving License Portability through Interstate Licensure Compacts – An Interstate Approach to Improving Access to Care and Addressing Workforce Gaps

August 23, 2017

ASTHO, with the support of the Health Resources & Services Administration, held a webinar in August 2017 on the use of interstate compacts as one method states can undertake to address access to care issues and workforce gaps through the use of telemedicine, particularly for patients in underserved or rural areas. The webinar featured an overview of two interstate compacts: Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact.

Use of Telepsychiatry to Improve Access to Care for Rural Populations: State Considerations for Incorporating Telepsychiatry into Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integrated Systems

Aug. 7, 2017

ASTHO, with the support of the Health Resources & Services Administration, held a webinar in August 2017 on the use of telepsychiatry to improve access to behavioral health care for rural populations. The webinar featured an overview of telepsychiatry programs' regulatory, programmatic and technical considerations, as well as presentations from two speakers from North Carolina and Washington about their state's telepsychiatry program.

Using Project ECHO to Increase Access to Specialty Care: Strategies for States and Lessons Learned from Oklahoma

July 26, 2017

ASTHO, with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, held a webinar in June 2017 on Project ECHO. Project ECHO is a guided practice model for medical education to increase workforce capacity and access to high quality specialty care and reduce health disparities. ASTHO, in partnership with the Center for Connected Health Policy, worked with four states to support and advance their telehealth efforts to improve population health. This webinar is part of this collaboration and related technical assistance activities.

Provider and Patient Engagement in Telehealth

May 24, 2017

ASTHO, with the support of CDC, hosted a webinar devoted to sharing strategies for engaging patients and providers using telehealth. This webinar featured Mei Wa Kwong, Policy Advisory and Project Director at the Center for Connected Health Policy. The webinar described the 1) Importance of provider and consumer support for a telehealth program to succeed; 2) Current efforts to engage and educate providers and consumers in the use of telehealth; and 3) Strategies attendees can employ to engage their providers and patients.

Telehealth Program Development and Policy

April 21, 2017

ASTHO, with the support of CDC, hosted a webinar devoted to telehealth program development and policies. This webinar featured Mei Wa Kwong, Policy Advisory and Project Director at the Center for Connected Health Policy. With the rapid diffusion of health information technology, wider expansion of current telehealth programs is possible. Many opportunities exist to leverage telehealth to increase access to preventative and specialty care and address health disparities affecting vulnerable populations, while also saving costs. This webinar presentation: 1) Provided a foundation for telehealth program development by describing telehealth modalities and relevant state and federal laws and regulations; 2) Described the steps necessary to develop a telehealth program, from design to implementation; and 3) Shared resources to support healthcare providers and public health agencies develop telehealth programs.

Lessons Learned from States Using Telehealth to Expand Access to Care for Rural and Underserved Communities

Aug. 25, 2016

Given significant barriers to accessing care for rural and underserved populations, states are interested in innovative strategies for health promotion and care delivery, such as telehealth. Telehealth can be used to provide appropriate and timely services, ranging from health prevention and primary care to specialty services. ASTHO partnered with HRSA to host this webinar to describe the policy framework necessary for public health agencies to support telehealth programs and also highlight two examples of current and emerging telehealth initiatives in Hawaii and Alaska.

If you have questions about ASTHO’s telehealth portfolio, please reach out to Emily Moore, Senior Analyst, Health Transformation.