Visit the ACCC COVID-19 Resource Center & Discussion Group for Insights on Providing Optimal Patient Care During the Pandemic.
 

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Telehealth

Advances in communications technology are continuing to affect all aspects of society.  Healthcare is no exception. From electronic health records to patient portals and virtual tumor boards, integration of telehealth and telemedicine into healthcare is increasing. 

Examples of telehealth and telemedicine utilization include, but are not limited to, videoconferences, audio conferences, electronic transmission of digital images, e-health applications, patient portals, remote patient monitoring, a variety of virtual healthcare provider training options, continuing medical education, nursing call centers, and more. 

Although there is no standard definition of telehealth, current consensus is that telehealth is the broader, overarching term. Telehealth encompasses all forms of remote healthcare services, both clinical and non-clinical.

According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), "the term [telehealth] itself can evoke a limited view of what telehealth does. What was, until recently, referred to as telemedicine now encompasses a much broader array of services and technologies – AI, virtual reality and behavioral economics are a few examples that come to mind. . . . "1 

While the potential of telehealth and telemedicine has been recognized for decades, the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) created an imperative that—at least temporarily—removed many long-standing barriers to broader adoption of telehealth solutions.2 Previous to the COVID-19 pandemic, often-cited barriers to wider integration of telehealth approaches included significant regulatory and reimbursement barriers, cost concerns, variability in state-level policies and requirements, and anticipated provider and patient resistance to adoption of this new care delivery approach.3 

With the loosening of restrictions and policies to allow rapid implementation of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems, hospitals, cancer programs, and practices have demonstrated the viability of telehealth and telemedicine for some aspects of cancer care.

References:
1. American Telemedicine Association. Telehealth Basics. https://www.americantelemed.org/resource/why-telemedicine. Accessed July 1, 2020.
2. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Additional background: sweeping regulatory changes to help U.S. healthcare system address COVID-19 patient surge. 
https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/additional-backgroundsweeping-regulatory-changes-help-us-healthcare-system-address-covid-19-patient. Accessed July 1, 2020.
3. Sirintrapun JS, et al. Telemedicine in Cancer Care. American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book 38 (May 23, 2018) 540-545. https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/EDBK_200141. Accessed July 1, 2020.

Featured Programs

Adoption & Expansion of Telehealth Solutions

This ACCC educational initiative addresses the immediate and ongoing needs of cancer programs and practices that want to implement, integrate, and expand their telehealth services to optimize patient care during the current public health emergency and beyond. Through this effort, ACCC will help guide members of the multidisciplinary team in the areas of rapid response, policy rules and regulations, team-based telehealth delivery, technology needs, and actionable blueprints to build new telehealth solutions.
Learn More

Optimizing Electronic Health Records

Through this project, ACCC identifies real-world tactics for overcoming common challenges and barriers to the use of EHRs for data analysis, care coordination, and quality reporting.
Learn More

Webcasts

  • Teri Bedard, BA, RT(R)(T), CPC, Executive Director, Client & Corporate Resources, Revenue Cycle Coding Strategies, will highlight what your cancer program needs to know by discussing the changes to telehealth services, supervision, provider-based designations, and coding for services. (July 10 2020)

Telehealth Resources

  • [PODCAST] Mini-Podcast: COVID-19 & Telemedicine
    May 19, 2020

    Learn how cancer programs can quickly and securely establish telemedicine platforms to continue delivering quality care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Virtual Navigation to Clinical Trials
    Jan 4, 2019

    In the current oncology clinical trials landscape, many barriers remain to clinical trial enrollment that affect both the oncologist and the patient. Among these are trial locations, strict eligibility requirements, insufficient resources to support appropriate clinical trial education and screening, as well as patient and provider attitudes about trials.

  • Telehealth: Partner in Innovation
    Nov 12, 2018
    The paradigm-changing advancements accompanying immunotherapy for cancer continue to require innovation in care delivery. Telehealth is a natural innovation partner for immuno-oncology when applied to patient-reported outcomes, provider education, and clinical trial enrollment. 

From Oncology Issues

  • Genetic Cancer Screening and Testing in a Medically Underserved Community
    Erica Martinez, RN, CHPN, OCN
    Genetic screening and testing are paving the way for improved patient care and outcomes on a broad scale that encompasses both cancer treatment and prevention. Access to this testing is key to identifying and thereby reducing disease burden, suffering, and cost.
  •  Virtual Infusion Services: Bringing Cancer Therapies Closer to Rural Patients
    Susan Halbritter, CNP, MSN, AOCN, ANP-BC, et al.
    Although many rural facilities in South Dakota do have infusion centers that administer anti-cancer therapies, these centers are generally not directly overseen by an oncologist or oncology trained advanced practice provider. Rather, local family practice or internal medicine physicians who are often unfamiliar with oncologic therapies oversee the administration of infusions.
  •  Virtual Care After Treatment: How Telemedicine Can Expand Survivorship Programs
    Holly Bushart, MSN, ACNP-BC, AOCNP, et al.
    Though the importance of post-cancer care is widely acknowledged, cancer programs and practices continue to struggle with the optimal approach for conducting dedicated survivorship visits. As a result, many patients still go without survivorship care. Telemedicine—which has increased access to care in numerous specialties—may offer one solution to these challenges