Telehealth and Whole Person Health | Moving Forward with Clear Arch Health

“…  we face challenges in telehealth going forward … we want to make sure that telehealth is accepted and broadly reflected in laws and regulations. We need to fix and address disparities, as well as address access. … Together, we’ll ensure that ‘What Now?’ means everyone gets access to care — where and when they need it — and that when they do, they know it’s safe and effective, and appropriate, while enabling clinicians to do more good for more people…”  

~ Ann Mond Johnson, CEO,  American Telemedicine Association
ATA2022 Welcome Address

During the May 2022 American Telemedicine Association’s 26th Annual Conference and Expo (ATA2022), participants focused on the challenges and solutions to establish telehealth as a permanent modality in healthcare delivery.

The industry is moving forward. Value-based paradigms are supplanting fee-based models. Increasing numbers of hospitals, ‘payviders,’ health service agencies, and accountable care organizations are integrating digital healthcare and operationalizing their commitment to remote patient monitoring (RPM) and whole person health. 

From our perspective at Clear Arch Health, there are three areas of uncertainty that could impact the future of telehealth access: physician hesitancy; user literacy and access; and policy and reimbursement ambiguity. 

Let’s break it down.

Solving Physician Hesitancy

“We need to bring more doctors into the fold. Their reticence is the main thing holding the industry back right now. This reticence is understandable and emanates from several very fundamental – and solvable – issues…”
~ Joe Kvedar, MD, Professor of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Immediate Past Chair of the Board, the ATA

At ATA2022, several clinicians talked about factors that contributed to a lingering hesitancy with telehealth integration. Many were concerned about  payment models and the  reimbursement process, while others wanted to have a better understanding of how to use telemedicine effectively for their patients before they could get on board. 

While the nation waits for the federal government to decide if  the ‘essential flexibilities’ put in place during the COVID-19 public health emergency will be made permanent, healthcare providers, payers and patients alike need assurance that telehealth can be a sustainable component of care delivery going forward.

We believe there are a few strategies which may propel this much needed movement, such as:

  • Empowering physicians who hesitate to embrace telehealth. The challenge is to demonstrate how hybrid care and telehealth solutions can be seen as complementary adjuncts to traditional clinical care, and not as outright competition.
  • Increasing efficiency in billing, documentation, workflow management and cross-team communication to remove physician hesitancy. We must make it easier for providers to deliver care to patients whenever and wherever needed within hybrid healthcare settings.
  • Enriching the existing healthcare system with well-designed virtual care services. We must provide clinicians with the necessary tools and training to deliver convenient, personalized, quality care to their patients.

Addressing User Literacy to Help People Live Well

“Our job is to keep people well, keep people healthy; avoid high cost, episodic acute interventions… With the advent of new technology (some of it pioneered by MobileHelp and Clear Arch Health), more and more of our care is being done outside of our hospitals… Our purpose as a system is not to just treat specific medical needs, but to actually help people live well.”                                           
  ~ Scott Powder, CEO, Advocate Aurora Enterprises
ATA2022 Executive Spotlight Presentation

The Digital Divide is real. Lack of broadband access, individuals feeling intimidated by unfamiliar technology, and other barriers, can pose real obstacles to the wider implementation of telemedicine. 

Seniors and other patients who are transitioning from in-hospital care to in-home care, or those aging in place, may benefit from telehealth and many are already embracing virtual care technologies.

A case in point is that many patients find Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) easy to use. Clear Arch Health’s unique and integrated RPM and PERS platform provides a simplified end-user experience and contributes to reducing hospital readmissions, lowering the cost of care, and enhancing quality of life for elderly persons who either live alone or spend most of their time on their own. 

This may be one of the most promising areas where whole person care, consumer healthcare and aging care technology can come together to deliver the greatest benefit for more patient populations.

Fortifying Policy and Billing Consistency

When it comes to telehealth and RPM, Medicare and other insurers currently provide for devices that collect physiologic data. However, the lack of clarity around which platforms and devices might be covered, and by which Medicare plan, creates uncertainty and becomes a hinderance to widespread adoption of virtual care services.

To move forward, we need to: 

  • support and prove RPM’s direct connection to improved health outcomes
  • convince the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to consider more expansive and comprehensive reimbursement models

There is no doubt that firmly established state and federal policies are critical to ensuring permanent implementation of telehealth and improving health equity in value-based care. 

What Now for Telehealth?

The healthcare industry is clearly evolving, making telehealth, telemedicine, and remote patient care more significant components of care delivery. As a result, it is becoming essential for like-minded health systems and solution providers to build partnerships, to help pave the way to make remote healthcare a sustainable option for providing quality care to patient populations outside traditional care settings.

“The last decade has seen explosive growth in the digital health space, and Clear Arch Health has been on the leading edge of this transformation… With [our] strength in both the personal safety and healthcare spaces, it is easy to see a future where the Clear Arch Health product portfolio is helping drive the decision-making of healthcare professionals across the care continuum, from hospital to home.”
 ~ John Bojanowski, President, Clear Arch Health

About ClearArch Health

Clear Arch Health® is a leading provider of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), Remote Life Safety (RLS) and mobile Personal Emergency Response System (mPERS) technologies. Part of the Advocate Aurora Enterprise network, Clear Arch Health, a division of MobileHelp®, provides healthcare organizations with a full range of telehealth product and service solutions designed to advance whole person health, achieve better patient outcomes, and reduce hospital readmissions. 

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