October 2015 

It has been a beautiful and busy fall in the northeast. NETRC is thrilled to have just hosted our Second Annual Conference and enjoyed meeting many colleagues, new and old, in Burlington, VT. We have already heard from attendees requesting further assistance and we can't wait to follow up with others!

We have an exciting calendar lined up through the end of the holiday season! In addition to our day-to-day assistance and projects to help kick-start telehealth, we are preparing for a variety of events. These include:
  • Telehealth in Maine meeting with the National Conference of State Legislatures on Oct. 16
  • American Public Health Association Annual Meeting on Oct. 31 - Nov. 4
  • CTeL Executive Telehealth Fall Summit on Nov 12 & 13
  • Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Grand Rounds on Dec. 10
  • Aroostook County (ME) Farm Bureau meeting on Oct. 26
  • New England Rural Health Conference on Nov. 5 & 6
  • Maine Public Health Association webinar on Nov. 18 
  • Maine Quality Counts Webinar on Dec. 15
There is a great deal of telehealth activity at the state and federal level we'll all want to stay on top of! Several telehealth parity bills have gained attention in Massachusetts, including HB 267, SB 1154, and HB 1944. As Connecticut and New York implement reimbursement parity laws effective January 1, 2016, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey look to catch up to the 29 states and Washington DC that have already passed legislation. We also continue to follow federal legislation and regulation with the Center for Connected Health Policy, such as the  Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2015 and the TELEmedicine for MEDicare Act of 2015.

Finally, for our partners in Vermont, please see the DVHA's  Request for Proposal for telehealth pilots funded through the Vermont Health Care Innovation Project due on October 23!

We hope to see you this fall (either by video or in-person) and look forward to staying in touch!


The NETRC Team
Thank you for attending: NETRC Regional Conference

Integrating Telehealth in an Evolving Landscape
Thank you to those who attended the NETRC Regional Conference in Burlington, VT on September 23 and 24!  We were thrilled to host over 100 providers, administrators, academics, vendors, and others from around the 8 state NETRC region.

Please click here  to review the conference agenda and available presentations. 

Featured Webinar

National Telehealth Webinar Series
Thursday, October 15, 2015, 2:00 - 3:00 PM EDT
This month presented by the TexLa Telehealth Resource Center

This presentation will provide an overview of the development and expansion of a school-based telemedicine program in North Texas. With over 57 schools participating in Children's Health's school telehealth program, it is the fastest growing program of its kind in the country. Lessons learned and successful outcomes will be discussed.

Additional Webinars

Telemedicine benefits and best practices for palliative care
UC Davis Children's Hospital and Avizia
Presenter: David Steinhorn, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, UC Davis Children's Hospital
Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT 

Waldo County Maine Telepractice Center and the University of Queensland
Thursday, October 15, 2015, 4:00 - 5:00 PM EDT

American Telemedicine Association
Presenters: Jonathan Linkous, Chief Executive Officer and Gary Capistrant, Chief Policy Officer
Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 2:00 - 3:00 PM EDT

University of Miami Health System, AMD Global Telemedicine, and Intel Corporation
Featured Presenter: Lisa Gwynn, DO, MBA, Director, Pediatric Mobile Clinic, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, University of Miami Health System
Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 2:00 - 3:00 PM EDT

RHC 101: Introduction to the Rural Health Care Program
Universal Service Administrative Company
Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 2:00 - 3:00 PM EST 

Content compiled by Michael Edwards, NETRC Consultant
Telehealth Policy News

Healthcare Informatics, October 5, 2015
This overview highlights current legislative initiatives to expand Medicare telehealth reimbursement policy and progress by states in reforming laws and regulations governing telehealth. Commentary is included from NETRC's Danielle Louder and healthcare attorney Nate Lacktman.
Polycom Public Sector View, September 24, 2015
In this interview with NETRC's Danielle Louder, she responds to questions about the benefits being sought with telehealth solutions and barriers to its adoption.
mHealth News, September 18, 2015
A story highlighting some conclusions from a webinar by American Well on the telehealth policy landscape in the northeast states. The presenter considers Massachusetts a problem state for having no Medicaid reimbursement policy (Rhode Island and New Hampshire are among the other three such states) and an outdated policy on internet prescribing.

Federal Telemedicine News, September 8, 2015
The Federal Communications Commission announced at the end of August that ten telecommunications carriers have accepted $1.5 billion in annual support from the Connect America Fund, to be used to expand and support broadband for rural consumers on a statewide basis for 45 states. Funds set for residents of states in the Northeast are as follows (in millions of dollars): CT $.04; ME $13.3; NH $4.4; MA $.06; NJ $0.4; NY $21.4; VT $8.8.

Internists Emphasize Importance of Balancing Benefits of Telemedicine Against Risks for Patients
ACP News, September 8, 2015
American College of Physicians (ACP) emphasized the importance of balancing the benefits of telemedicine against its risks for patients in a position paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

NPAF News, September 8, 2015
Citing lack of transportation as one of the top concerns of the patients served by the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand telehealth services as an important way to ensure that patients get the care they need.
News on the Practice of Telemedicine

Healthcare Informatics, October 5, 2015
St. Louis-based Mercy Health recently opened a new $54 million Virtual Care Center to serve as a hub for 75 telemedicine services and an electronic intensive care unit.  A staff of 300 will deliver 24/7 services for network hospitals and clinics in Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas.
Mainebiz, September 21, 2015
The telehealth initiatives of Maine's largest health care system, MaineHealth, are profiled. Included are discussions in their progress toward delivery to their hospital network of in telestoke services and telemedicine for genetics, speech pathology, and psychiatry.
Healthcare Informatics, September 20, 2015
A pair of recent reports by the National Telehealth Resource Center, the Center for Connected Health Policy, finds significant financial barriers for implementation of telehealth strategies by community health centers in California and nationally. As one example for best practices for success, they recommend that health centers create a code in their EHR and billing systems to allow tracking of telehealth-related encounters.
MobiHealthNews, September 11, 2015
This analysis covers trends in partnerships of health care systems and insurance plans with vendors of solutions for virtual services for primary care. The discussion covers the multiple reasons that health care systems are turning to vendors such as Teladoc and American Well to enhance delivery of services.
CTeL News, August 28, 2015
The Robert J. Waters Center for Telehealth and e-Health Law  provides a list of questions a practitioner should ask a malpractice insurer when making a decision on whether a liability insurance plan will cover the practice of telemedicine.
Telemedicine Technology News

MedCity News, October 6, 2015
The Israeli company TytoCare, now with a U.S. office in New Jersey, makes an inexpensive consumer device that allows remote examinations of mouth and throat, skin, heart, lungs, eye, ear and skin. As it waits for FDA approval, a number of large pediatric practices and children's hospitals are making plans to integrate the device into their health care delivery programs using either interactive virtual visits in the home or in a store and forward model.

mHealth News, September 16, 2015
Fitbit recently announced that its popular line of health indicator trackers is now HIPAA-certified, ensuring that data captured and stored meets the standards for protected health information in healthcare settings. This move is expected to accelerate partnerships Fitbit has made with a number of large employers for use of the devices to enhance employee wellness. 
mHealth News, September 9, 2015
Apple recently announced that the Sense4Baby app, developed in partnership with San Antonio-based Airstrip, allows Apple smartphones and its updated Apple Watch to serve as a fetal monitor for expectant mothers.  Other adaptations for Apple Watch include apps to support providers in making hospital rounds, viewing schedules, communicating with care team members, and viewing lab results.

Health Information Technology News

EHRIntelligence, October 6, 2015
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently finalized modifications to meaningful use requirements between 2015 and 2017 and postponed Stage 3 Meaningful Use as mandatory for eligible providers until 2018.
iHealthBeat, October 5, 2015
During the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's Consumer Health IT Summit in September, the agency announced the release of three data briefs detailing national progress on health data exchange, patient electronic health record access, and use of HIT capabilities for patient engagement.
FierceEMR, September 29, 2015
The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently produced a report criticizing the status of electronic health record interoperability. Issues hindering interoperability include the lack of incentives for providers to share data currently and the requirements for the Meaningful Use incentive program.
Modern Healthcare, September 21, 2015
A five-year Federal Health IT Strategic Plan recently put out by the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT sets national goals to advance person-centered and self-managed health, transform care delivery and community health, foster research, scientific knowledge and innovation, and enhance the nation's health IT infrastructure. 
mHealth News, September 14, 2015
The Massachusetts-based EHR provider, athenahealth, recently announced that it will soon be offering integration of video telehealth services through a HIPAA-compliant platform for follow-up care.

Recent Telehealth Resources

Arora S, Yttri J, Nilse W.  Privacy and security in mobile health (mHealth) research.  Alcohol Res. 36(1):143-151, 2014.

Bobinet K, Petito J.  Designing the consumer-centered telehealth & eVisit experience: Considerations for the future of consumer healthcare-White Paper.  Office Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2015 Link

Bonney A, Knight-Billington P, Mullan J, et al.  The Telehealth Skills, Training, and Implementation Project: an evaluation protocol.  JMIR Res. Protoc. 4(1):e2, 2015 Link

Crundall-Goode A, Goode KM.  Using telehealth for heart failure: Barriers, pitfalls and current nursing service models.  Brit. J. Cardiac Nursing  9(8):1-21, 2014 Link

Daniel H, Sulmasy LS, ACP Health and Public Policy Committee.  Policy recommendations to guide the use of telemedicine in primary care settings: An American College of Physicians position paper.  Annals Int. Med. [epub before print], Sept. 2015 Link

Grunert JH.  Features and limitations of mobile tablet devices for viewing radiological images.  Fortschr. Röntgenstr. 187(3):173-179, 2015 Link

Kahn JM.  Virtual visits--confronting the challenges of telemedicine.  New Engl. J. Med. 372(18):1684-1685, 2015 Link

Lindsay JA, Kauth MR, Hudson S, Martin LA, Ramsey DJ, Daily L, Rader J.  Implementation of video telehealth to improve access to evidence-based psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder.  Telemed. eHealth 21(6):467-472, 2015  Link

Myers K, Vander Stoep A, Zhou C, McCarty CA, Katon W.  Effectiveness of a telehealth service delivery model for treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a community-based randomized controlled trial.  J. Amer. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 54(4):263-274, 2015  Link

Regina Molini-Avejonas D, Rondon-Melo S, de La Higuera Amato CA, Samelli AG.  A systematic review of the use of telehealth in speech, language and hearing sciences.  J. Telemed. Telecare 21(7):367-376, 2015 Link

Taylor A, Morris G, Pech J, Rechter S, Carati C, Kidd MR.  Home telehealth video conferencing: perceptions and performance.  JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 3(3):e90, 2015 Link

Welch G, Balder A, Zagarins S.  Telehealth program for type 2 diabetes: usability, satisfaction, and clinical usefulness in an urban community health center.  Telemed. eHealth 21(5):395-403, 2015  Link

Zheng Y, Head BA, Schapmire TJ.  A systematic review of telehealth in palliative care: caregiver outcomes.  Telemed. eHealth, Sept. [epub ahead of print], 2015  Link