Telehealth feature image

Telehealth

Hospitals Benchmark Improved Patient Outcomes, Cost Savings

Through telehealth services, Ohio hospitals have increased access to care, lowered costs, improved patient satisfaction and, most importantly, improved clinical outcomes.

OHA's member-driven Telehealth Work Group defined metrics to measure the effectiveness of core telehealth services along with identifying ongoing barriers to leveraging telehealth with continually improving technology in Ohio.

TELEHEALTH SERVICES DEMONSTRATE EARLY RESULTS

Through telehealth services, patients in areas of Ohio with a shortage of child psychologists, for example, have had unprecedented access to these services. Rural hospitals have been able to completely change the way they treat stroke patients—faster and better—through linking telestroke hub and spoke hospitals.

With the relentless opioid epidemic in our state, telehealth can be a crucial tool in reaching people with substance abuse disorders.

DEFINING METRICS, MEASURING SUCCESS

The OHA Telehealth Work Group was formed in 2011 to respond to proposed rules from the Ohio Department of Medicaid regarding reimbursement for telemedicine services.

Policymakers were not convinced of the efficacy of telehealth or its cost saving merits, so the group also realized there was insufficient data to support telehealth. After some success in influencing the Medicaid reimbursement rule, the group shifted its focus to defining metrics for key areas of telehealth to have a concise data set for policy makers. 

Read about the metrics and initial studies in this OHA white paper.

BARRIERS TO EXPANDED USE

Telemedicine shows vast potential, yet, there are barriers to leveraging telehealth in Ohio. The problem is not the willingness and innovation of health care providers, but rather it is a problem of providers getting adequately reimbursed to continue the services they provide to build on the radical successes of the technology.

FOCUS AREAS

Hospitals are focusing on telehealth services for which reimbursement barriers can be mitigated or at least balanced. The areas of telehealth explored by the OHA Work Group are:

  • Telestroke
  • Remote patient monitoring
  • Urgent care
  • Pediatrics
  • Telepsychology