- Ernst & Young, in conjunction with industry telemedicine experts, have developed a telemedicine maturity adoption model intended to help plot a course towards robust, cost-effective remote care. The model, announced at HIMSS15 in Chicago this week, mirrors similar efforts by other healthcare stakeholders to measure the adoption of health IT infrastructure such as EHRs, continuity of care, and healthcare data analytics.
“As interest in telemedicine intensifies, it is critical that an industry standard be adopted for assessing and describing the maturity of various telemedicine programs,” said Bill Fera, MD, a principal in the Health Care Advisory practice at Ernst & Young LLP and the leader of the National Telemedicine Nomenclature Advisory Council.
“A standardized national system will make it easier for health care providers to compare, analyze and implement telemedicine programs,” he added. “This can speed telemedicine adoption and help get this technology to more patients who need it.”
Under the model, healthcare organizations can pin themselves to one of eight adoption levels, starting with Level 0 and ending with Level 7. The first level requires providers to have a telemedicine strategy in place, with assurances of regulatory compliance and security. Providers can then add capabilities to gain additional recognitions, including the ability to engage and educate patients through an online patient portal, the use of video conferencing for virtual consults, remote monitoring within the home, as well as the addition of specialty care consults.
Level 7 demands full interoperability with medical devices, patient wearables, and the EHR. Organizations must be able to transmit patient-generated health data to the electronic medical record and must also have the capability to exchange this data with other healthcare organizations.
“The new Telemedicine Adoption Model is a welcome resource for the industry,” said Natasa Sokolovich, JD, MSHCPM, the executive director of telemedicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a member of the National Telemedicine Nomenclature Advisory Council.
“Enabling health care providers to easily compare their existing telemedicine and telemedicine services with other programs across the country allows a systematic approach to planning, assessing and maximizing investments in telemedicine services and technologies. As someone who has operationalized the strategic expansion of telemedicine services across a large integrated delivery and finance system, I am excited to share this model with my colleagues across the country.”
Other organizations involved in the development of the telemedicine adoption model include Vanderbilt University Medical Center, The Ohio State University, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, and Duke University Health System.