Health Information Technology  Telehealth  

Overview

Telehealth is a maturing mode for delivering health care, health education, and health information services. Advances in information and communications technologies have enabled remote and interactive (two-way audio and video) services between health care consumers, providers, and caregivers. Traditionally, telehealth has been a mechanism to connect a patient at an originating site to a licensed provider at a distant site, particularly in rural and other remote areas with provider shortages or inadequate access to health care services, such as specialty care. Today, telehealth is evolving to support a broad array of services, both clinical and non-clinical, as part of a multi-faceted health ecosystem that aims to empower providers to deliver more convenient, personalized, and cost-effective care. Telehealth is a promising and practical solution to improve care coordination, better monitor and treat at-risk populations, and expand population health programs.

Elevating Telehealth in Maryland

The MHCC views telehealth as an important strategy to improve access to care and reduce health care costs. The expansion of telehealth in a variety of health care settings is one of MHCC’s five strategic priorities (2019-2022). Educating providers and patients about the value of telehealth and evaluating the effectiveness of program design and implementation supports policy development and use of telehealth. Click here for more information about MHCC strategic priorities.  

The MHCC's telehealth initiatives include a range of activities that provide technical support to practices, foster peer learning about best practices, assess the effectiveness of select use cases in various settings through demonstration projects, and build consumer awareness about telehealth as an option to receive care.  Click here for more information about MHCC telehealth initiatives.  Click here for more information on initiatives implemented or expanded in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).

Featured:

Telehealth Virtual Resource Center

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way health care is delivered. Telehealth is an option that provides consumers with a safe alternative to receive care that is convenient and limits potential exposure to the virus. The MHCC Telehealth Virtual Resource Center includes information to help practices implement telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency and beyond.

Educational Materials for Consumers

Consumers benefit from understanding how telehealth can be an appropriate method to seek health care and in using the technology. The MHCC is helping raise consumer awareness and understanding of telehealth through public service announcements, podcasts, and educational flyers that explain the basic mechanics of telehealth and answers to frequently asked questions. For more information, visit MHCC’s Consumer Telehealth web page

Telehealth Readiness Assessment Tool

The MHCC compiled key takeaways from MHCC telehealth grants and discussions with industry leaders regarding factors that impact telehealth adoption and sustainability. A need was identified to help practices better understand barriers, facilitators, and patient and environmental factors associated with telehealth. A Telehealth Readiness Assessment Tool (TRA tool) was developed to assist small practices preparing to implement or scale telehealth services. The TRA tool consists of five key domains: 1) Core Readiness; 2) Financial Considerations; 3) Operations; 4) Staff Engagement; and 5) Patient Readiness.

The web enabled version of the TRA Tool is available here; or, click here to download a PDF version. More information about the TRA Tool is available in this user guide. Provide feedback to the TRA Tool by completing this user survey.

Preparing for Teledentistry - A Guide for Dental Practices

This guide is intended to help dental practices plan for teledentistry.  A self-assessment questionnaire and supporting guidance are included in the guide to assist dental practices in identifying areas for improvement and increasing teledentistry readiness.  Areas for consideration relate to implementing new technology, obtaining staff and patient buy-in, redesigning workflows, and assessing practice and patient needs. The guide is available here.

Telehealth Technology Vendor Portfolio

The MHCC worked with stakeholders to develop a lightweight Telehealth Technology Vendor Portfolio (portfolio). The portfolio is expected to save practices time identifying and reviewing over 70 HIPAA-compliant telehealth vendors. With just a few clicks, users can select basic technology features, such as compatibility with medical devices (e.g., blood pressure cuffs and glucometers) and integrations with electronic health record systems that practices should consider when reviewing telehealth products. The portfolio also includes vendor user ratings, including ease-of-use and overall product satisfaction. This provides practices with a unique opportunity to generate a list of HIPAA-compliant telehealth vendors to begin the process of evaluating telehealth solutions and the vendor providing the service.

The portfolio is available here. Click "Enable Content" to maximize automation of the portfolio. For users that prefer to use the portfolio in a traditional excel workbook, click here.  

MHCC Telehealth Grants

Since 2014, MHCC has awarded 17 telehealth grants to qualified health care organizations operating in Maryland. These grants fund the implementation and evaluation of innovative telehealth projects across various settings. Lessons learned inform future applications of telehealth, better practices and implementation efforts, and policy development. Findings support planning to design and scale telehealth programs to larger or different patient populations. 

A Telehealth Grants Summary Table lists the names of MHCC telehealth grantees and provides information about their projects. For more information, please visit MHCC’s Telehealth Grants web page.

Webinars On-Demand

Telehealth webinars support peer learning about the current landscape of telehealth and how it can be used as an alternative mechanism to deliver quality health care services. The MHCC in collaboration with industry leaders locally and nationally present on a variety of telehealth topics, such as telehealth compliance and reimbursement, consumer engagement, and school-based telehealth. Webinars are available on-demand and feature presentations by telehealth adopters and subject matter experts. Click here to view MHCC webinars on-demand.

School-Based Telehealth Workgroup

In March 2018, the Senate Finance Committee (Committee) expressed a need to assess policies in the State governing school-based telehealth. The Committee tasked MHCC with convening a stakeholder workgroup to identify deficiencies in existing policies that limit diffusion of telehealth in schools, and develop recommendations – statutory, regulatory, or technical – to inform policy development. The MHCC submitted an interim report in January 2019 and a final report in October 2019. The recommendations are intended to serve a starting point to foster substantive policy changes that enable telehealth to be integrated into the standard of care in Maryland schools. For more information, visit the School-Based Telehealth Workgroup web page.

Telehealth Policy Workgroup 

In the fall of 2020, MHCC convened a Telehealth Policy Workgroup (workgroup) to discuss changes in telehealth policy implemented in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).  Workgroup discussions centered on use of telehealth during the PHE and considered the permanence of certain expansion policies.  A report overviews the evolving telehealth landscape in Maryland and the nation, and leading observations from the workgroup.  Click here for more information on the workgroup.

Other Resources

Office-Based Physicians Adoption of Telehealth

Highlights findings from an MHCC environmental scan of office-based physicians in Maryland, including adoption by specialty and region and well as current trends and adoption barriers.

Medical Professional Liability Insurance - Key Considerations for Telehealth

Overviews important aspects of liability coverage for health care providers who are adding or expanding telehealth services in their practice.

HIPAA and Telehealth

Guidance for ensuring telehealth practices are compliant with federal and State regulations.

Maryland Medicaid Telehealth Program

Information, including frequently asked questions about the Maryland Medicaid Telehealth Program.

Maryland Telehealth Alliance, Inc.

An all-volunteer collaborative that serves as a central knowledge base for telehealth in Maryland.

Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center

One of 14 national Telehealth Resource Centers providing technical assistance and other resources to advance telehealth, particularly in rural and medically underserved communities.

Contact

For more information, contact Nikki Majewski by phone 410-764-3839 or email at nicole.majewski@maryland.gov.


Last Updated: 8/27/2021