Background: State policy makers made rapid policy changes to ensure telehealth services were available to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. State policy makers are assessing these policy changes to determine how effective telehealth has been at addressing health needs and whether to sustain or adapt new policies. To inform these critical decisions, policy makers need access to evidence regarding the most effective and efficient ways to deliver telehealth services. PCORI has made substantial investments in such essential patient-centered, telehealth research.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: As state exploration of telehealth expansion and sustainability grows, so too will their need for research as well as patient engagement efforts to ensure adoption of evidence-based policies. NASHP is well positioned to connect a variety of state policy makers to PCORI’s research. Leveraging its networks of policy makers, including officials that serve Medicaid and CHIP, state-based marketplaces, and state employee health plans, NASHP will connect states to available PCORI research and highlight patient engagement insights, thereby enabling access to resources needed to assess, adapt, and sustain their telehealth policies.
NASHP’s objectives for this award are to:
- Systematically collect and share state policy makers’ challenges related to sustaining telehealth policies and states’ plans to engage patients on telehealth experiences
- Convene state policy maker groups to present PCOR findings, highlight patient engagement strategies, and discuss their influence on state decisions to sustain and/or adapt telehealth policies
- Document themes and takeaways from policy maker discussions on effective use of telehealth research and patient engagement strategies to inform policy
Activities: As state concerns are rapidly evolving, NASHP will survey targeted policy maker networks to assess emergent needs. Informed by these findings, NASHP will convene webinars for at least four policy maker groups (Medicaid, CHIP, the marketplaces, state employee health plans), during which NASHP will facilitate discussions regarding sustainability of telehealth policies and best practices for incorporating patient engagement in policy decisions. NASHP will then develop a survey tool to help states solicit patient feedback on telehealth policies.
Projected Outcomes and Outputs: The project team’s goal is to contextualize available evidence to a network of policy makers to promote adoption of evidence-based, patient-informed telehealth policies. NASHP will produce blogs to share information regarding relevant PCOR and findings from the survey and webinar discussions. A final analysis of project findings and the patient survey tool will be shared in a brief tailored to the team’s audience of policy makers and researchers.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The project team’s survey will include questions to glean current strategies being adopted to incorporate patient engagement in telehealth policy decisions. NASHP will then engage relevant patient stakeholder groups to elicit feedback on best practices for incorporation of patient engagement. NASHP will share feedback on successful patient engagement strategies as well as connect policy makers with available resources to support further stakeholder engagement such as the SEED Method Complete Toolkit and findings drawn from PCORI’s Engagement Rubric.
Project Collaborators: This work will be carried out in partnership with Robyn Liu, MD, MPH, a family and preventive medicine physician currently practicing with Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Oregon and formerly with the Center for Evidence-based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University. NASHP will also consult patient engagement groups to inform policy maker webinars as well as the patient engagement survey tool and final brief. Identified groups include: the Chronic Disease Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the rights of chronic disease patients and Family Voices, a national family-led organization of families and friends of children and youth with special healthcare needs and disabilities.