Skip to content Skip to navigation

AHRQ Urged to Review More Studies, Broaden its Evaluation of Telemedicine’s Benefits

January 27, 2016
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

The Healthcare Information and Management System Society (HIMSS) and the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHA) are urging the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to review international studies as well as individual studies in order to have more data to evaluate the benefits of telemedicine.

In a letter, the two organizations provide written comments in response to AHRQ’s technical brief on telemedicine, Telehealth: An Evidence Map for Decisionmaking, issued in December. The draft report was intended to provide a framework and an evidence map of the available research regarding the impact of telehealth on health outcomes and healthcare utilization that can be used to inform policy and practice decisions.

The AHRQ study was requested by Senators Bill Nelson (R-Fla.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), who asked for a literature review on the value of telehealth and remote patient monitoring, particularly for the chronically ill, with a focus on expanding access to care and reducing costs.

The two organizations recommend that AHRQ review international studies that “when properly analyzed can aid US policymakers in understanding additional applications of new and novel technology.” And, the organizations also recommended that AHRQ consider data from other delivery systems such as the Department of Veterans Affairs.

HIMSS and PCHA also urged the agency to expand and refine modality types in their review to include the term remote patient monitoring “to ensure that multiple modality types are not excluded as a result of an unintended bias based on evolving terms as noted in the background and definition section.”

“We ask AHRQ to expand outcomes to include patient engagement. Technologies associated with telehealth are becoming increasingly accessible to patients as consumers,” the organizations stated in the letter.

The organizations also noted that AHRQ’s decision to use only literature reviews rather than individual studies limits the inclusion of more recent data on remote patient monitoring usage. “We urge AHRQ to include individual studies with an emphasis on studies that do not restrict the research to only care delivery models that require doctor-patient interaction,” the letter states.

And, the organizations wrote, “Finally, we request that AHRQ broaden its evaluation to include telehealth encounters that go beyond isolated interventions constrained to direct encounters with patients. As noted in the technical brief, the size and scope of healthcare delivery in a virtual sense has expanded dramatically over recent years. In addition, many of these studies leverage telehealth and remote patient monitoring as ancillary to other supportive technologies to achieve outcomes, cost savings and to better engage patients.”




Gates Foundation Awards $210M to UW's Population Health Initiative

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding $210 million to Seattle-based University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative, with the funds going toward the construction of a new building to serve as the initiative’s hub.

AHA Offers Interoperability Standards Recommendations to ONC

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has offered feedback to the ONC on the agency’s draft Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) that it issued in August.

Survey: Healthcare Orgs Not Taking Mobile Security Seriously Enough

More than half (56 percent) of healthcare professionals believe their organization could be doing more to educate employees on HIPAA compliance and the rules around sharing protected health information.

Mount Sinai’s Research Arm Using Data Analytics to Address Health Inequities

The Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is partnering with DigitalGlobe to create the Health Equity Atlas Initiative (ATLAS), a platform that standardizes and maps population data in order to generate insights that address health inequities.

FDA, Hospitals Work to Improve Data Collection about Medical Devices

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking to improve the way it works with hospitals to modernize and streamline data collection, specifically safety data, about medical devices.

McKesson Unveils New Paragon Electronic Health Record Platform

McKesson Enterprise Information Solutions (EIS) announced the latest release of Paragon, its electronic health record (EHR) solution.