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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

Webcast

Telehealth Reimbursement Update
Since a public health emergency was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated the coding guidelines and waivers multiple times. Staying informed on these rapidly shifting updates can seem daunting.

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

View On-Demand Replay

Telehealth Resources

  • [PODCAST] Episode 28: Telehealth & Genetics During COVID-19
    Feb 23, 2021

    Learn how genetic healthcare services have adapted to virtual care delivery, and what challenges face its widespread use after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

  • [PODCAST] Episode 26: Telehealth after COVID-19
    Dec 29, 2020

    On this episode of CANCER BUZZ, we discuss how healthcare providers and policymakers can work together to pave the future of telehealth beyond the current public health emergency. 

  • Telemedicine and Cancer Care: Today’s Learnings for a Post-Pandemic World
    Nov 20, 2020

    Despite a century-long history and a substantial body of recent empirical evidence that attests to its clinical and economic effectiveness and improved access, telemedicine has yet to become a routine part of clinical practice for the majority of clinicians. If used appropriately, it can serve as an effective substitute for in-person care which does not require physical examination in nearly all facets of the medical care process, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and follow-up.

  • 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. 

On-Demand Webinars

ACCCBuzz Blog Posts

From Oncology Issues

  •  Community Oncology Can Close the Gap in Cancer Research
    Amanda Patton, MA
    This is the story of how a large independent practice in northwest Arkansas has nurtured its research program over several decades and is now able to offer patients access to phase I, II, and III trials close to home and their families.
  •  Key Areas of Interest Going Into 2021
    Randall A. Oyer, MD
    With the enormous pressures of COVID-19, the ever-increasing complexity of oncology care, and the persistent social factors that lead to medical injustice, it is difficult to think about tackling even one more job. Yet, we must, we can, and we do. Today I want to mention four specific areas that all cancer programs need to be watching, thinking about, and preparing for.
  • Compliance: What Telehealth May Look Like in 2021
    Teri Bedard, BA, RT(R)(T), CPC
    The 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed the following changes specific to telehealth.
  • 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.