Identifying Measures to Build the Evidence Base for Telehealth

Round Table Discussion

April 15, 2019 | 4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. CDT

Measuring the impact of telemedicine is an important goal for many reasons, however the industry has struggled to produce high quality, generalizable research. Part of the challenge is recognizing that telemedicine is not a homogenous service, but representative of a vast array of clinical programs. Consequently, another challenge arises from a lack of standardized measures adapted to telemedicine.

Over the past 4 years, the Rural Telehealth Research Center (RTRC) has been funded by HRSA’s Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) to help build the evidence base for telemedicine. To that end, OAT requested that RTRC focus on projects to identify measures, collect uniform data, and publish on three of OAT’s funded grant programs. The work began in 2015 with the Evidence Based Tele-emergency Network Grant Program, which included developing a list of 25 measures, 45 data elements, and accompanying data collection tool that could be feasibly applied across all 6 grantees. In the following year OAT requested similar work directed at 21 grantees addressing school-based telehealth. And last year the effort was expanded to 14 telehealth grantees addressing mental health and substance abuse. The challenge in all of these programs has been finding sufficient commonalities across the grantees to serve as the basis for evidence-based findings.

This session will feature key RTRC investigators discussing the process of identifying evaluation measures for the various telehealth programs. They will review commonalities between the programs, and suggest domains and measures that might be applicable across a wide variety of telemedicine offerings. They will share best practices and lessons learned in setting up data collection and evaluation efforts across telemedicine networks. A leader of a telemedicine network that has received grant funding in each of these OAT programs will describe challenges to collecting data and solutions for overcoming barriers.


  • Nicholas Mohr, MD, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Anesthesia Critical Care, and Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Medicine; Rural Telehealth Research Center
  • Marcia Ward, Ph.D, Professor, University of Iowa
  • Mandy Bell, eCARE Quality and Innovation Officer, Avera eCARE
  • Kimberly Merchant, Research Associate, University of Iowa