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
The Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center recently provided technical support for the Pacific Basin Medical Association (PBMA) conference in Majuro, held from October 3 to 5, 2016. The conference came two weeks after the PBTRC hosted the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) Telehealth Champions Building and Planning Workshop in Honolulu. At the USAPI Workshop, participants were given a demonstration of video teleconferencing (VTC) technology. After learning about desktop VTC, the facilitators, Dr. Tom Jack, Dr. Robert Maddison, and Dr. Kino Reuben of the PBMA conference decided to use the technology to allow others to attend the conference remotely and to facilitate presentations from remote locations. In order to ensure that the technical aspects of the conference ran smoothly, PMBA invited Jose Aquino from PBTRC to be on site in Majuro to assist with setting up the desktop video teleconferencing as a communication platform for the conference. Miguel Brostrom, a PBTRC staff member in Honolulu, monitored the conference and assisted with troubleshooting. Prior to the event, PBTRC also coordinated multiple system tests. Christina Higa, the Co-program Director of the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center gave a presentation via teleconference on an introduction to telehealth and summary of discussions and plans that resulted from the recent USAPI Telehealth Workshop held in Honolulu.
One fun aspect of the conference was that Zumba sessions were delivered via video teleconferencing. Dr. Jack mentioned this as an idea during the Telehealth Workshop in Honolulu. The Zumba demonstration via video teleconferencing enabled participants to evaluate the quality of the video connection. Even with participants moving and dancing, it was still possible to see their movements clearly. Christina Higa asked the doctors in the room whether the video performance was good enough to observe patient gait movement; overwhelmingly they agreed. Congratulations to PBMA for making good use of video teleconferencing to expand access and participation in the conference!More
On September 10th, the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center had a booth at the 2016 Hawaii Health Workforce Summit, organized by the Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center (AHEC). The booth received over 100 walkthroughs from individuals interested in learning about telehealth and workforce development. In addition to the booth, Christina Higa, the co-director of the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center, gave a presentation that provided an update on telehealth in Hawaii, including an overview of Act 226 that was recently signed into law by Governor Ige. The presentation was followed by a panel with Hawaii’s Project ECHO that sparked some interesting discourse about telehealth. Other presentations from the Summit included topics on oral health, inter-professional education, and the state of the workforce in Hawaii. Several presentations also focused on health care transformation in terms of payment reform.
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