The Taskforce on Telehealth Policy identified three specific areas of focus for its deliberations. Subcommittees were formed to tackle each of the areas and relay findings and recommendations to the full panel. Below are the questions the subcommittees used to frame their work.
Expanding Telehealth and its Effect on Total Cost of Care:
Before COVID, policymakers often assumed that expanding telehealth would increase costs.
- What have we learned about telehealth utilization during the pandemic?
- How should federal budgeting models adapt to reflect expanded telehealth access?
- What is needed to determine the effect of telehealth expansion on prevention, urgent care, post-acute care, etc.?
- What principles should inform telehealth pay vs. in-person care and do these vary by service/mode of telehealth?
Enhancing Patient Safety and Program Integrity in Remote Care Services:
Patient safety concerns drove some pre-COVID telehealth restrictions.
- What do data tell us about program integrity with telehealth vs. in-person care?
- How can telehealth/virtual care technologies be used to enhance program integrity?
- How does your organization address program integrity with telehealth/virtual care and does it differ from in-person care?
- What best practices should payers implement to optimize program integrity to prevent fraud and abuse?
- What do data tell us about patient safety with telehealth vs. in-person care?
- Are there opportunities for greater levels of patient safety in telehealth?
- What controls are needed to prevent diversion of controlled substances prescribed via telehealth?
- How can we best protect patient privacy while ensuring interoperable telehealth access that enables effective payer-provider collaboration?
Data Flow, Care Integration and Quality Measurement:
Telehealth was often seen as separate rather than part of core care.
- How do we fully leverage telehealth capabilities throughout the care and quality ecosystems?
- What are barriers to a more integrated quality measurement system, data sharing and patient-centered care for remote services?
- What are best ways to assess the impact of telehealth expansion on quality and patient experience?
- How do we adapt the quality infrastructure to incorporate and support telehealth expansion and strengthen its infrastructure?
- What has your experience been with consumer telehealth satisfaction and they would accept virtual care in an integrated care system?
- How might policies encourage patients and providers to view of telehealth as another kind of care vs. a different care modality?
Broader Policy Questions
- What should criteria be for which emergency regulatory changes to keep vs. default to pre-COVID rules?
- What role can federal and state policy play in giving patients and providers tools and technical assistance to meet telehealth needs?
- What have we learned during the pandemic that can be applied to policy on access, quality, safety, cost effectiveness, and outcomes?