CHIME letter: Telehealth is key to managing chronic conditions

In comments sent to the Senate Committee on Finance, CHIME outlined the key role IT, telehealth specifically, plays in managing chronic conditions.

CHIME sent the letter to the committee in response to the committee's stakeholder letter asking for input on crafting legislation to improve care for patients with chronic conditions.

Telehealth and "robust care coordination" are key to improving outcomes for patients with chronic conditions, according to the letter. To achieve these initiatives, CHIME outlined the following three recommendations.

1. Facilitate federal policies to enable widespread health data exchange. "The concept of a longitudinal healthcare record should reflect the patient's experience across episodes of care, payers, geographic locations and stages of life," according to the letter. Additionally, CHIME said a nationwide approach to patient identification is necessary for health information exchange, and the absence of one makes a longitudinal care record not feasible.

2. Address federal telehealth policies. Federal reimbursement issues surrounding telehealth remain a barrier to standardizing and disseminating access to telehealth, but states and private payers are encouraging innovative payment methodologies for these services, according to CHIME. The letter also addressed interstate licensing issues. "Federal telehealth policies lag those of both state and private payers, thus the federal government should leverage existing resources to explore alternative care models in order to accommodate and encourage innovation in healthcare delivery," CHIME wrote.

3. Enhance patient engagement. According to CHIME, time is a limitation that affects care quality on both the provider and patient side. For providers, there isn't enough of it, and for patients, time pressures can lead to concerns. "The most efficient use of both patient and provider resources is to enable a dialog and structure of communication that is both time and content efficient," according to CHIME. This includes telehealth, providing educational content and home health monitoring.

More articles on telehealth:

Nemours partners with telehealth provider American Well: 5 things to know 
Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth joins statewide HIE 
Courts permit Teladoc to temporarily continue operating in Texas 

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