On December 15, 2016, the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center (PBTRC) participated in a video teleconference ceremony to launch the opening of the Pohnpei Telemedicine Room in the Pohnpei Hospital. The ceremony was attended by the Pohnpei State Governor, the Chairman of Health, Senators, and the Director of Pohnpei State Hospital, among other dignitaries. Dr. Perman, who attended the 2016 USAPI Telehealth Champion Building and Planning Workshop, led the efforts to quickly establish telecommunication links, the designated room, and funding to support the initiative. With the opening of the Telemedicine Room, they will embark on their first two consultations with Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu. Dr. Craig Ono from Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu will see two of his former patients in Pohnpei by video teleconferencing. Providers also participated in the ECHO behavioral mental health training sessions that are delivered in conjunction with the University of Hawaii, Hawaii State Rural Health Association, State of Hawaii Department of Health, and PBTRC.More
Introduced by Hawaii’s own Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) as well as Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act was signed into law by President Obama on December 14, 2016. This bipartisan bill aims to increase access to high quality healthcare and health education in rural or underserved areas. Project ECHO, which was started in 2003, allows providers to learn from specialists and consult about cases via video teleconferencing. The Act requires that the Secretary of Health and Human Services examine whether technology based projects such as Project ECHO have an impact on workforce development, access to healthcare, and the treatment of specific diseases such as chronic diseases and mental health and addiction issues. The Secretary will also report on any problems faced when adopting technology based learning models. Additionally, cost effectiveness and effective practices of those who have adopted such models will be included in the report.
Senator Schatz’s Press Release: http://www.schatz.senate.gov/press-releases/president-obama-signs-schatz-hatch-tele-training-bill-into-law
For the full text of the Act please visit: https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s2873/BILLS-114s2873enr.pdf
Photo (L-R): Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI); Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/SenBrianSchatz/status/806966405488742400
In December 2016, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) released a Telehealth Resource Guide that explains the practice of telemedicine and gives an overview of telehealth programs for seven different states including Hawaii. The guide highlights the progress made and challenges faced in each of these states and points out some potential next steps. The guide also contains practical information such as a glossary of telehealth terms and links to information on telehealth legislation and Telehealth Resource Centers for each region. A number of resources that summarize the growing evidence for telehealth as an effective manner of delivering healthcare are also included. This resource guide also contains information on topics such as reimbursement, Medicaid and Medicare coverage, and licensure requirements.More
On August 19, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) submitted a report on E-health and Telemedicine to the Committees on Appropriations of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The report explains ways that advances in telecommunications can improve access to care and improve care quality, effectiveness, and outcomes. This report was prepared by HHS upon request by Congress in December 2015.
The report identifies policy challenges that currently are limiting expansion of telehealth use. These barriers include reimbursement, licensure, privileging and credentialing, and broadband connectivity. The report also identifies Federal telehealth activity and the current HHS legislative proposal.
To read the report: https://aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-report/report-congress-e-health-and-telemedicineMore
On August 2, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a new mapping tool that allows users to visualize, overlay, and analyze broadband and health data at the national, state, and county levels. The tool called: Mapping Broadband Health in America, was launched by the FCC’s Connect2Health Task Force and utilizes data captured from the FCC, GeoLytics, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the U.S. Census Bureau.
To access the interactive tool, click HERE.
FCC Press Release: FCC Connect2Health Task Force Unveils Broadband Health Mapping Tool
To learn more about the Mapping tool: https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/connect2health/background.html
Video Tutorials: https://www.fcc.gov/health/maps/tutorials
Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.fcc.gov/health/maps/faqMore