At American Telemedicine Association (ATA) conferences, a plethora of stakeholders converge to learn from each other, share best practices, and improve the status of the current healthcare delivery system. This project will bring these groups together in a learning and action forum that is interactive, utilizing human-centered design thinking to facilitate an applied understanding of the research findings. The forum will provide attendees with vital information about the state of current research and how theoretical knowledge can be translated into the broader healthcare delivery system with the most significant potential to impact the lives of patients and reduce the cost burden. The project team will establish metrics that capture the impact of the intervention as it documents the value of telehealth.
According to research conducted by Coughlan et al., organizations that embrace rapid change and utilize design processes are more likely to transform and bring about organizational change. The project team understands the importance of reducing barriers to uptake and shortening the time and distance between the telehealth research findings and use. Thus, it is not enough to merely disseminate the results without an understanding of how these findings would stand up in various practice settings. A central focus of this project will be to go beyond dissemination to discover unidentified barriers or new models that assist with translating the research to practice.
The team believes it is important to measure its success. An evaluation is a core part of the project. The evaluation strategy will help determine if the forum achieved its overall objectives of: sharing research information; assessing the degree to which the research findings were deemed pertinent to the attendees; and determining if the interactive learning was perceived to be the foundation of a tangible action plan for translation of findings. An area where many organizations fall short is the development of appropriate metrics. As part of the interactive discussion, participants will work through an exercise on quality measures.
The healthcare delivery system is diverse, complex, and often very difficult to change. It is fraught with challenges concerning patient safety, the efficacy of new treatment modalities, patient adherence, and so much more. The implementation of telehealth programs is increasingly being used to address these goals. Although 65 percent of healthcare organizations are providing some level of virtual care, clinicians and hospital administrators do not know where to begin or how to effectively integrate and operationalize a new telehealth program into their overarching strategy. Despite online educational programs, funded research, and federally funded technical assistance programs, there is still a void.
A misalignment of payment incentives further compounds the lack of adoption. In the current structure, providers are rewarded financially based on serving more patients rather than reducing the costs of healthcare services. As new alternative payment models emerge that drive reimbursement toward quality and improved outcomes, healthcare providers are expected to readily embrace telehealth and virtual care modalities.
The proposed forum will help organizations and providers prepare for the migration from fee-for-service to value-based care and reimbursement. In doing so, the project team believes that the optimal exchange of ideas happens when individuals are actively engaged in the process.