ATA's Accreditation Program for Online Patient Consultations
   

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for ATA’s accreditation program?

U.S. organizations that provide online, real-time patient consultations directly to patients are eligible for ATA’s Accreditation Program for Online Patient Consultations. The program accredits consultation sites, services and organizations that are directly visible to consumers and patients.

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Examples of such organizations include:
  • A medical institution that offers a patient portal for online, real-time health care consultations with its name on the online site.  The institution may contract with a separate organization to use a technology platform and/or to provide patient consultative services to the institution’s patient base.
  • A service provider company that operates an online business to provide direct to consumer, real-time patient consultative services using their proprietary platform and either employed or contracted health care providers.
  • An employer that provides its employees with online, real-time telehealth services via a platform and/or patient consultative services provided by a contracted organization or service provider(s).
ATA does not provide accreditation for “white-labeled” services including companies that solely provide telecommunications or a technology platform for use in such services. ATA also does not separately accredit subcontracted professionals that provide services on behalf of such sites.  Such an example would include an organization that provides a back-end telehealth platform that is re-branded and used by another organization or group of health care providers for online, real-time patient consultative services.  

Why seek ATA accreditation?

Organizations receiving ATA accreditation will realize tangible and intangible benefits such as:

  • differentiation and competitive edge in the marketplace from other health care providers
  • increased credibility among patients, competitors, payers and partners
  • greater consumer recognition and trust
  • recognition by and increased support from insurers and government agencies
  • validation to regulators and watchdogs that the organization complies with and adjusts to changes in the industry, laws and regulations
  • guidance on a set of best quality practices that improve safety and quality

 

If my organization earns the ATA Seal, how does ATA assist my organization in announcing and promoting my accreditation?

ATA provides accredited Organizations with a media kit and extensive promotion to include:

  • a press release from ATA to public news media and trade press
  • promotion on ATA’s websites for providers and consumers
  • announcements in newsbriefs, videocasts and meetings.

How do I apply for accreditation?

An Organization interested in applying for accreditation must first register with ATA and be determined to be eligible for the program.  Organizations may register online here

How do I submit my application and documentation to ATA?

Applications and supporting documentation are submitted in electronic format (Word, Excel or PDF) to ATA.  Files can be submitted via email or flash drive. 

How were the standards for the Accreditation Program for Online Patient Consultations developed?

The Program Standards and Guidance was developed in conjunction with leading experts in the field, are based on best practices, expert consensus, and federal and state regulations.  Drafting of the criteria included the active input of a large number of individuals and organizations over the past two years including medical societies, regulators and consumers.

How do I get a copy of the Standards?

Upon completion of the Registration Form by an Organization, ATA will forward the Standards and other pertinent Program informational documents.

Does my Organization have to comply with all Standards?

Yes, to earn the ATA Seal of Accreditation, an Organization must be in compliance with all Standards of the Program. 

What are the fees associated with the accreditation program?

Accreditation fees are based on the number of providers of online, real-time patient consultations in all service lines. Fees include an Application Fee that is submitted with the Application and an Annual Reporting Fee required in years 2 and 3 of the accreditation cycle.  A Fee Schedule is provided upon completion of the Registration Form.

How long does the accreditation process take?

There are several factors that may affect the length of time it takes for an organization to complete the accreditation process.  Organizations that have compared ATA’s Standards against its current polices/procedures for compliance and have identified and corrected any non-compliances will complete the process more quickly.

What are the main steps in the accreditation process?

  1. Organization registers for accreditation.
  2. Eligible Organizations are invited to submit an Application.
  3. Application and supporting documentation are submitted to ATA.
  4. A completed Application is scheduled for Survey.
  5. Survey is conducted involving review of supporting documentation and online resources, and demonstration.
  6. Accreditation decision is rendered.

What is the accreditation period?

The accreditation period is 3 years.  To continue an accreditation for an additional 3-year period, Accredited Organizations are required to submit a renewal application and undergo a renewal survey in the last year of their accreditation cycle.

What happens if non-compliances to standards are found during my survey?

As part of the accreditation process, Organizations are notified of any non-compliance and given the opportunity to provide a plan of corrective action and present corrective materials to show compliance before a final decision regarding accreditation is rendered.

How is the survey conducted?

After the Application and supporting documentation have been deemed complete, the Organization will be scheduled for a survey.  The Survey consists of reviews of submitted documentation and online resources and demonstration of services.

Who makes the final decision on an accreditation approval?

The ATA Accreditation Commission oversees the Accreditation Program for Online Patient Consultations and makes final decisions on accreditation applications.


Is my accreditation status available to the general public?

ATA posts all accredited Organizations on its accreditation website.  Each Organization will be asked to provide specific contact information to be posted on the website.  In addition, accredited organizations can display the official seal of the ATA Accreditation Program on their website and use it in advertising their program.

Is the data and information collected from my organization during the accreditation process kept confidential?

Yes, this information is kept confidential.  Information that is made public is outlined in the Program Rules and Terms.  

Does an accredited organization have any reporting requirements?

Accredited organizations are required to submit an Annual Accreditation Report at the beginning of year 2 and 3 of its accreditation cycle.  

What is www.safeonlinehealth.org?

This site is directed to consumers of online patient health care visits.  The site provides information to consumers on ATA accredited Organizations as well as other helpful consumer-directed resources. 


Other questions?

For additional questions regarding the accreditation program, please contact ATA at (202) 223-3333 or at info@safeonlinehealth.org

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