Online Program

Telehealth, Public Health, and Health Policy: Bridging the Geographic Divide for Rural Populations

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Andrew Solomon, MPH, MCD Public Health, Northeast Telehealth Resource Center, Augusta, ME
Garret Spargo, MA, National Telehealth Technology Assessment Resource Center, Anchorage, AK
Elizabeth Krupinski, PhD, University of Arizona, Southwest Telehealth Resource Center, Tucson, AZ
Kathy Wibberly, PhD, Center for Telehealth, Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center and School of Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
As healthcare providers, leaders, and payers strive to enhance population health, improve quality of health care services, and contain costs, many are approaching telehealth as an essential tool, particularly for rural and underserved populations. New and improved technologies, from live video conferencing to mobile health (mHealth), are connecting providers, patients, healthcare networks, and public health experts over long distances like never before. However, an outdated health policy landscape lags behind technology and practice, limiting the growth of telehealth services in many states.

Fourteen Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs), including twelve regional centers and two national centers specializing in telehealth policy and technology, are funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Office of Rural Health Policy, Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. Since 2006, the TRCs have provided free assistance to individuals and organizations developing, implementing, or expanding telehealth services while collaborating with academic institutions, hospitals, clinics, government agencies, professional associations, and others. The TRCs are nationally recognized experts in topics such as telemedicine program development, equipment and technology selection, training, and reimbursement.

A review and discussion of telehealth and telemedicine is provided, including how telehealth is becoming an essential tool for public health. The four modalities of telehealth are reviewed by technology experts, including video conferencing, store and forward technologies, remote patient monitoring, and mHealth. Current health policy influencing telehealth practice is introduced, while barriers and future opportunities are highlighted. Examples of successful and sustainable telehealth programs are presented from around the country focused on various disciplines of care.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Define telehealth and telemedicine Compare four types of telehealth and telemedicine technologies available, including live video conferencing, store and forward, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health Discuss telehealth as a public health tool, including how telehealth fits within the 10 Essential Public Health Services Describe the limitations current health policies place on developing telehealth services across the Nation, including requirements for reimbursement or lack thereof Describe the role of the 14 Telehealth Resource Centers, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Office of Rural Health Policy Describe successful and sustainable telehealth programs from around the country that achieve the triple aim for rural populations despite any barriers placed by current health policy

Keyword(s): Telehealth, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Manager of a federally funded (HRSA) Telehealth Resource Center responsible for providing technical assistance to individuals and organizations in the northeast who are developing, implementing, or expanding telehealth services. I work with a network of 13 other federally funded Telehealth Resource Centers. As an MPH graduate, I have been interested in merging public health and technology for several years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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