Fall conference season is in full swing! Last week, we presented at the New York DSRIP Learning Symposium in Syracuse and co-sponsored the Telemental Health Conference hosted by William James College in Newton, MA. This week, we'll be discussing telehealth at the Rural Health Networking Meeting hosted by the Massachusetts Rural Council on Health in Spencer, MA. NETRC is also preparing for a variety of events in October, including a presentation during the Broadband for Islands Summit in Hallowell, ME and the first-ever  APHA Learning Institute on Telehealth in Denver, CO.

In our last newsletter, we announced that the NETRC Regional Telehealth Conference will take place on May 23+24, 2017 at UMass Amherst.  Request your spot on the agenda today - don't miss our Call for Breakout Presentations below! 

There's plenty more in this newsletter too, including a new federal funding opportunity, several exciting webinars, a few regional career opportunities, and many hand-picked news articles and recently discovered resources.

As always, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions!


The NETRC Team
Request for Breakout Sessions!


The Northeast Telehealth Resource Center will host the next Regional Telehealth Conference in Amherst, MA (UMass Hotel and Campus Center) on  May 23+24, 2017 ! T he conference will begin with hands-on afternoon workshops and an evening networking reception on May 23, followed by a full-day conference on May 24 with nationally recognized plenary speakers and a variety of breakout sessions.

We're thrilled to invite you to submit a breakout session proposal for May 24, 2017!

Proposals are due October 30, 2016.

Stay tuned for more information about our exciting agenda, sponsorship and exhibit opportunities, and the launch of our early bird registration. Excitement is already building and we cannot wait to see you at this premier telehealth networking event.

Updates about the conference will be posted at www.netrc.org/conference.

Federal Funding Opportunity

Now Open:  Rural Health Network Development Grant Program

Sponsor:  Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Background: The purpose of the Rural Health Network Development Grant Program is to expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential healthcare services, and enhance the delivery of healthcare in rural areas.
These grants support mature, integrated rural healthcare networks that have combined the functions of the entities participating in the network in order to address the needs of the targeted rural community. Entities apply for the grant may be working together on telehealth projects.

Click here to learn more!
Featured Webinars

Project ECHO: A Revolution in Medical Education and Care Delivery

Thursday, September 29 at 1:00pm EDT

Presented by:  New England Rural Health Roundtable

Presenter:  Evan Klass, M.D., F.A.C.P.  Senior Associate Dean, Statewide Initiatives,  Director, Project ECHO Nevada,  Designated Institutional Officer, Physician Assistant Studies Program

Click here   to learn more!

Telemental Health: an Introduction

Tuesday, October 4 at 12:00pm EDT

Presented by:  Maine Quality Counts in collaboration with NETRC

Presenter:  Jay Ostrowski, MA, LPC/S, NCC, DCC, ACS, President of Behavioral Health Innovation and a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor

Click here to register!

Telemedicine with a Southern Accent: Addressing the Rural Healthcare Crisis

Thursday, October 20 at 2:00pm EDT

Presented by:  Southeastern Telehealth Resource Center in collaboration with the Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers

Presenter:  Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama, Inc.

Click here to register!

Upcoming Fall Conferences
September 27-28
NYC Health IT Summit
Institute for Health Technology Information
New York, NY
September 28-3 0
American Telemedicine Association
New Orleans, LA

October 20-21
Partners Healthcare
Boston, MA

October 28
Telemental Health & Social Work Training
NASW Massachusetts
Weston, MA 
October 29 - November 2
APHA Annual Meeting and Expo
American Public Health Association
Denver, CO

November 2
New England Rural Health Roundtable
Southbridge, MA
November 3
Lake Placid, NY

November 15
Xtelligent Media
Cambridge, MA
November 17 - 18
CTeL Executive Telehealth Fall Summit
Center for Telehealth and e-Health Law
Washington, DC 

December 11 - 14
Connected Health Conference
Washington, DC  
Career Opportunities

Location: UMass Memorial Medical Center,  Worcester, MA

Location: Adirondack Health Institute,  Glen Falls, NY 
Content compiled by Michael Edwards, NETRC Consultant
Telehealth Policy News

NJ.com, September 26, 2016
A state Senate panel unanimously approved legislation on  Monday, September 26   that would regulate the growing field of telemedicine. The bill was sent on to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.  

USAC Rural Health Care Program, September 22, 2016
New legislation signed by the President in June adds skilled nursing facilities to the list of eligible health care providers for both the Healthcare Connect Fund and Telecommunications Programs of the Universal Service Administrative Company.
Has Missouri found a new way to boost telehealth in schools?
mHealth Intelligence, September 13, 2016
Legislation in Missouri which takes effect this month enables school districts to bill Medicaid for some special needs services delivered via telemedicine, including speech and language therapy and mental health counseling.
Survey: No reimbursement, no telehealth
mHealth Intelligence, September 01, 2016
An analysis of a 2014 survey finds that most family practices aren't using telehealth because payers, both federal and private, aren't compensating them for it.  According to the Graham Center for Policy Studies, only 15% of family care physicians overall used telehealth in the previous year; however, physicians working in federally designated safety net clinics or HMOs were more likely to use telehealth.
State of telehealth: HHS report to Congress outlines successes, challenges
Fierce Healthcare, August 22, 2016
This story summarizes the content of a recent report to Congress from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in DHHS, which assesses the progress of federal efforts to advance use of telehealth for health care service delivery.  In addition to reimbursements for covered services, the report summarizes the scope of research and demonstration grants that include telehealth elements and the status of state policy and infrastructure barriers to further growth in usage.
Recent relaxation of state-level challenges to expansion of telemedicine but barriers remain
National Law Review, August 18, 2016
This overview highlights some significant recent demonstrations of improved outcomes and cost-savings associated with telehealth programs and easing of barriers to practice and reimbursement effected thought changes in policies and laws in several states.

Grant awards for telehealth
Federal Telemedicine News, August 17, 2016
The Telehealth Network Grant Program within HRSA recently awarded 21 grants to health organizations, which include a requirement that at least one school-based health center be included as a service target.  Two awardees in the northeast include Community Health Center, Inc. (Middletown, CT), and Bassett Healthcare (Cooperstown, NY).  The USDA also announced Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants to 19 recipients in addition to 80 awards announced earlier.  Only MaineHealth was a grantee in the northeast; however, grantee Cole Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania plans to make use of orthopedic specialist centers in New York for telemedicine services. 

News on the Practice of Telemedicine

NYP-Weill Cornell telehealth program slashes ER times for patients with minor complaints
Healthcare IT News, September 13, 2016
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital launched the NYP-Weill Cornell ED Telehealth Express Care Service in July and already results indicate that for patients with minor complaints the average ER visit length has dropped from about four hours to only 30 minutes.  Now the program managers are considering an on-demand service app that patients can use to access from home instead of heading to urgent care or the emergency department.
Using mHealth to transition to value-based care
mHealth Intelligence, August 29, 2016
North Carolina's largest federally qualified health center, Goshen Medical Center, is turning to mHealth to help patients manage their chronic conditions.  By deploying a platform and app from Smartlink Mobile Systems, the health center achieves good alignment with Medicare's monitoring guidelines for Chronic Care Management and Annual Wellness Visit services and thus gains the CMS reimbursements for those services..
How nighttime telehealth services can improve overnight care
mHealth Intelligence, September 2016
This report highlights a recent trend in use of telemedicine to deliver nighttime access to a physician of various specialties for conferring with medical staff and/or examining in-patients of small hospitals.  This "telenocturnist" service is being delivered at cheaper rates than employing a full-time provider in the overnight hours because the cost is spread out across several hospitals, which pay either a flat rate for access to the service or a per-consult fee.
Telemedicine and patient safety
AHRQ Patient Safety Network, September, 2016
Researchers at Partners Telemedicine in Boston summarize recent studies on improved outcomes with telemedicine service delivery including demonstrations of help in identifying and preventing treatment-related errors and treatment-related adverse events.  They provide recommendations to include more measures related to safety in telehealth research and evaluation studies.
Telehealth grant for school-based health
Bassett Healthcare Network Press Release, September 6, 2016
Bassett Healthcare Network (Cooperstown, NY) recently was awarded a HRSA Telehealth Network Grant which it will use to bring various pediatric and behavioral health services via telehealth to 18 school-based health centers in three rural counties of central New York State.  In addition to providing access to subspecialists to address individual medical needs, the school-based telehealth project will include diabetes care and education, obesity prevention programming and nutritional counseling, oral health care, and asthma care and education.
Study finds Canary Health's digital diabetes management program helpful across five key health indicators
MobiHealth News, August 31, 2016
Researchers at Stanford Medical School recently published a study on the efficacy of Canary Health's online, digital diabetes program that allows people living with diabetes to self-manage their health through online workshops, coaching, and electronic support for medication adherence.  Participants showed improvement across five key areas: blood sugar levels, medication adherence, exercise, hypoglycemic symptom frequency, and depression..
TechTarget, August 2016 
Health IT experts from Massachusetts General Hospital, Sarah Sossong and Marcy Simoni, share key steps to ensuring that a telehealth initiative will be successful.  Based on the MGH experience of conducting more than 10,000 virtual visits across 12 different specialties since 2011, they emphasize these four steps: 1) Identify the target patient population; 2) Have  a goal in mind; 3) Engage patients, providers; 4) Partner with other departments
mHealth Intelligence, August 10, 2016
A recently published study by researchers at the University of California-San Francisco and Massachusetts-based Ibis Reproductive Health reports that telemedicine services in Alaska has been helping women get timely abortion care closer to home and enables them to choose the services they want. 

Telemedicine Technology News

The Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2016
A new genre of home diagnostic devices aims to address those concerns by giving patients some of the same tools that doctors use during in-office exams. Think part Star Trek Tricorder, part Harry Potter Extendable Ear.

Study finds patients often misuse wrist blood pressure monitors, leading to inaccurate readings
Mobihealth News, September 7, 2016
New research from Italy suggests that at-home, wrist blood pressure cuffs can be inaccurate if not done exactly right, leading to false reports of elevated blood pressure at home when compared to measurements taken in a doctor's office.  Even after training, patients often rested the wrist device below heart level, which gives falsely high numbers and could encourage a doctor to unnecessarily increase hypertensive medication.
Apple's updated App Store guidelines place added scrutiny on health, medical apps
Mobihealth News, September 6, 2016
Developers of health and medical apps will now have strict rules to abide by with Apple's new App Store Guidelines, which call for privacy protections, warnings about inaccurate data that could potentially cause physical harm, and documentation of any FDA clearance.

Offering mobile video visits
Federal Telemedicine News, August 10, 2016
FastMed Urgent Care is partnering with TouchCare to offer mobile video appointments to North Carolinians via smartphones or tablets through 57 clinics now and with expectation of statewide deployment in the future.  The mobile platform enables providers and health systems to offer scheduled, HIPAA-compliant mHealth appointments with their own patients.

Health Information Technology News

New ONC chief Vindell Washington, MD: 'Time to pivot toward information sharing'
Healthcare IT News, September 20, 2016
The new director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, Vindell Washington, recently spoke about his priorities for the office.  Now that EHR adoption has reached a critical mass, he aims to push for widespread health information exchange that is currently lacking while trying hard to reduce the burden of documentation required by health care organizations.
More than half of healthcare organizations cannot move imaging data between systems
Healthcare IT News, August 22, 2016
A report on a recent survey commissioned by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives finds that responsibility for management, storing, and exchanging medical imaging data has largely passed from radiology to IT departments.  While the large majority of CIOs appreciate how care coordination is a key driver for interoperability, more than half report that their organizations cannot yet move imaging data between systems and applications.
JAMA: EHRs aren't keeping up with evolution of other technologies
Healthcare IT News, August 19, 2016
A recently published analysis from the Stanford University School of Medicine emphasizes how tech-savvy strategies for diagnosis, monitoring and treatment have become commonplace, but EHRs typically fall behind in linkages that would enable health systems capitalize on these new capabilities to improve care.  A specific opportunity missed in current EHRs is in the limited ability of patient portals to providers to take advantage of patient use of personal health tracking devices and mHealth applications.
Carequality says several EHRs now exchanging data via Interoperability Framework
Healthcare IT News, August 16, 2016
Since first published in December 2015, more and more EHR vendors are embracing the interoperability framework developed by Carequality, which includes technical specifications, governance processes, and legal and policy requirements to enable health information exchange between health systems and data sharing networks.  Avoiding the complexity of negotiation among vendors, a single agreement with Carequality network assures that any organization which joins will be connected to all others using the framework.

Recent Telehealth Resources

Alwashmi M, Hawboldt J, Davis E, et al. The effect of smartphone interventions on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 4(3):e105, 2016. Link

Bhattarai P, Phillips JL. The role of digital health technologies in management of pain in older people: An integrative review. Arch. Gerontol. Geriatr. 68:14-24, 2016 Link

Breeden LE. Occupational therapy home safety intervention via telehealth. Int J Telerehabil. 8(1):29-40, 2016 Link

Buvik A, Bugge E, Knutsen G, Småbrekke A, Wilsgaard T. Quality of care for remote orthopaedic consultations using telemedicine: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Health Serv. Res. 16:483, 2016 Link

Dixon P, Hollinghurst S, Edwards L, et al. Cost-effectiveness of telehealth for patients with raised cardiovascular disease risk: evidence from the Healthlines randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open. 6(8):e012352, 2016 Link

Glassman P, Harrington M, Namakian M. Report of the virtual dental home demonstration: Improving the oral health of vulnerable and underserved populations using geographically distributed telehealth-connected teams. Pacific Center for Special Care, University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, June 14, 2016 Link

Gordon SE, Dufour AB, Monti SM, Mattison ML, Catic AG, Thomas CP, Lipsitz LA. Impact of a videoconference educational intervention on physical restraint and antipsychotic use in nursing homes: Results from the ECHO-AGE pilot study. J. Amer. Med. Dir. Assoc. 17(6):553-556, 2016 Link

Guarino H, Acosta M, Marsch LA, Xie H, Aponte-Melendez Y. A mixed-methods evaluation of the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a mobile intervention for methadone maintenance clients. Psychol. Addict. Behav. 30(1):1-11, 2016 Link

Hoffman P, McCoy S, Jia H, Chiara A, Wallin, M. Using clinical video telehealth to provide comprehensive care to rural veterans with multiple sclerosis. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health Rural Promising Practices, August 2016 pdf

Hostetter M, Klein S, McCarthy D, Project ECHO's complex care initiative: building capacity to help "superutilizers" in underserved communities, The Commonwealth Fund, August 2016 Link

Kampmeijer R, Pavlova M, Tambor M, Golinowska S, Groot W. The use of e-health and m-health tools in health promotion and primary prevention among older adults: a systematic literature review. BMC Health Serv Res. 16 (Suppl 5):290, 2016 Link

Komaromy M, Duhigg D, Metcalf A, Carlson C, Kalishman S, Hayes L, Burke T, Thornton K, Arora S. Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes): A new model for educating primary care providers about treatment of substance use disorders. Subst. Abuse 37(1):20-24, 2016 Link

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Maryland Medicaid Telehealth Program:. Telehealth Provider Manual, May, 2016 Link

Office of Health Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Report to Congress: E-health and Telemedicine. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, August 12, 2016 Link

Ohl M., Dillon D., Goss T., Kaboli P. Telehealth collaborative care for rural veterans with HIV infection. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health Rural Promising Practices, February, 2016 Link

Perlin JB, Baker DB, Brailer DJ, et al. Information technology interoperability and use for better care and evidence: a vital direction for health and health care. National Academy of Medicine, September 2016 Link

Polinski JM, Barker T, Gagliano N, Sussman A, Brennan TA, Shrank WH. Patients' satisfaction with and preference for telehealth visits. J. Gen. Intern. Med. 31(3):269-275, 2016 Link

Stelson EA, Carr BG, Golden KE, et al. Perceptions of family participation in intensive care unit rounds and telemedicine: A qualitative assessment. Amer. J. Crit. Care 25(5):440-447, 2016. Link

Wood BR, Unruh KT, Martinez-Paz N, et al. Impact of a telehealth program that delivers remote consultation and longitudinal mentorship to community HIV providers. Open Forum Inf. Dis. [e-pub ahead of print], August 2016 Link

Yang T. Telehealth Parity Laws. Health Affairs Health Policy Brief, August 15, 2016 Link