Being more than just a public health issue, the pandemic has drastically changed our way of life - the way we work, learn, socially interact, and especially how health care is practiced and delivered. For most health care organizations, this event has been a shock, not to mention an unexpected spike in demand for virtual care. With the massive response to the pandemic, of the groups who weren't already utilizing this technology, many had to rush to incorporate services to keep up with the growing demand of patients needing care from afar. It has forced telehealth to the forefront, now proven to provide quality care virtually. Whether it’s a phone call, video, or messaging, telehealth can come in many forms that can cover a variety of mediums.
In a new survey conducted in October of 2020, the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition Telehealth Workgroup found that more than 75% of the almost 1600 physicians polled said that “ telehealth has allowed them to provide quality care for a variety of specialties, from COVID-19-related care to behavioral health.”
Unsurprisingly, telehealth has become a lifeline for both patients and providers alike. But with any new service or technology, it’s extremely important to measure both effectiveness and satisfaction, all the while making it accessible, time and cost-efficient, and compliant under federal regulations relating to patient care during COVID-19. A practice also needs to evaluate the impact telehealth might have. They need to understand the nature of these services, assess the needs of patients, and collect and analyze measures relevant to accurately measure the success of telehealth medicine.
If a practice can optimize their systems to expand both the use of telehealth and their ability to measure, track, and report on the quality of telehealth, it could change the outcome of care for many patients. So how would a patient or a provider make sure they are using telehealth correctly and efficiently? These questions can be sought through a framework of measurable data identifying the level of accessibility, financial impacts, user experience, and effectiveness of a system.
A great way to collect metrics is through the use of pre- and post-telehealth visit surveys for both patient and provider, and also Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQM). eCQMs are measures specified in a standard electronic format that use data exported from electronic health records (EHR) and/or health (IT) systems to measure the quality of health care provided. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) use eCQMs in a variety of quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs. Each eCQM is documented in a special way defining its intent, populations included, logic, data elements, and value set identifiers.
CMS, required by federal law, provides a quality incentive program, rewarding providers one of two ways, one being a merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) and another through Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs).
In light of this year’s unparalleled events, telehealth is being pushed more now than ever, but with so many variables and deterrents, how does one solve problems and address barriers relating to virtual care? The pMD platform offers a great solution to meet CMS MIPS requirements with our point-of-care data capture which provides a robust dashboard to monitor performance metrics and offers real-time data for reporting purposes. Having the ability to enter these eCQMs at the point of care can help providers focus more on patients. Rather than spending hours on paperwork, providers can save time, improve on and assess the quality of treatment, and foster a goal of access-driven real-time data to help decrease medical errors. When a provider seeks out a telehealth solution, it’s a no-brainer that pMD is a perfect solution, not just for now but for the future of patient care.