New Report Looks at Impact of Telehealth

Telehealth in an Evolving Health Care Environment

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is a nonprofit organization providing unbiased and authoritative research and advice to both decision makers and the public. Established in 1970, the IOM is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, chartered under President Lincoln in 1863. Through their research efforts the organization helps both the government and private sector make informed decisions on healthcare. You can follow their work on Twitter @theIOM, on Facebook and on Linkedin.

The IOM regularly publishes research on topics ranging from public health issues, biomedical research, patient safety, population and health disparities, and more. The Institute also holds workshops and makes available its summaries and findings.

In August the Institute held a two day workshop in Washington, D.C. to look at how telehealth technology fits into our healthcare system. The Role of Telehealth in an Evolving Health Care Environment  was sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Last Tuesday the Institute released the findings from the workshop in a 160 page report.

The IOM has been on the forefront of the impact of telehealth since releasing its 1996 report Telemedicine: A Guide to Assessing Telecommunications for Health Care. Telehealth is a broader term that includes telemedicine and other services and applications related to providing healthcare services remotely. In the past 15 years telehealth has continued to grow through federal grant funding and the private sector’s development of new technologies and applications. Still, it is recognized that barriers exist.

At the August workshop participants were asked to:

  • Discuss the evolution of telehealth including the increasing role of the private sector and consumer acceptance of telehealth
  • Discuss the current evidence base for telehealth
  • Discuss how technological developments, including mHealth, social networking, wearable devices, and the push for electronic health records, is changing the delivery of health care
  • Discuss actions HHS can undertake to further the use of telehealth to improve healthcare outcomes while controlling costs

The workshop summary report includes chapters on:

  • Overview of the past, present, and future of telehealth
  • Overarching challenges in telehealth, especially for rural communities
  • Challenges related to paying for telehealth
  • Changing policy through evidence and design
  • Development of newer telehealth technologies
  • Embracing telehealth at the state and federal levels

You can view online or download a PDF version of the full workshop summary for free.