2020 has taken the healthcare industry into the depths of the Wild West. Scrambling, pistol-quick, not lawless, but certainly pushing past the limits of established rules. Most companies would not likely call this a prolific or prosperous year…unless they happen to be in telehealth.
Where healthcare has historically embraced change with an infamous lethargy, the coronavirus pandemic forced it into an Olympic speed. Telehealth has been sprinting with the torch ever since. Colorado healthcare providers employed 20% telehealth services in February. By May that standard was stretched to 80%. (Nothing like a global virus to drive the hand of an incumbent bureaucracy!) Jokes aside, it’s a bustling time for telehealth, and we at Redox are strong in our commitment to supporting them through the rollercoaster of legislative change as well as through the maze of applicability within private or public health networks.
There are a few resources telehealth companies should know about as they begin to expand their footprints in the healthcare industry. Though not commonly known, there are a lot of opportunities for telehealth companies to engage the public health sector. Government can be a scary word, but it is not a scary partner. Merging the forces of two large, inflexible systems may seem like a masochistic feat, but it really comes down to knowing where the right information is and what the right next steps are.
There are a variety of public health organizations specifically searching for telehealth solutions that tend to the needs of their constituents. I’ll list a few below:
The Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC)
Perhaps the most well-known of the listed organizations, the ONC is the head of national health IT implementation efforts. Its website is useful for an aerial view of telehealth topics and definitions.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI)
The CMMI supports programming that explores new payment and service delivery models for the overall benefit to patient populations. They have resources for interested companies to views various projects in different states. There is a dedicated page on their site for people to submit solutions to gaps in our healthcare system. They also offer reports on the status of different care models across their network.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Through SAMHSA, Community Certified Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) engage telehealth “to expand access to services and alleviate workforce shortages.” Their focus on rural, underserved communities shows companies explicitly where the need is, and what telehealth can do to soothe the gap.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
The Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) supports telehealth programs with various focal points, which gives potential vendors more room to explore the applicability of their telehealth offering.
- Telehealth Network Grant Program
- Substance Abuse Treatment Telehealth Network Grant Program
- Telehealth Resource Center Program
- Telehealth Centers of Excellence
- Flexible Rural Health Access Program
- Licensure Portability Grant Program
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The FCC is leading a $200 million initiative to help nonprofits and public health care organizations in adopting telehealth solutions. Redox customer, Mend, was chosen to serve a 17-site nonprofit in New York that also wants to integrate across 6 different EHRs. Moreover, part of the funds received from the FCC went toward integrating Mend into the EHRs. The decision surrounding whether to build in-house or use an integration partner is often determined by price and speed. The FCC solves the price issue.
Many opportunities in the public health space go underutilized by digital health companies because it is difficult to know where to look for them, or even how to start the process of doing so. In a coming Redox podcast, our President Niko Skievaski chats with Rachel Dixon, the Executive Director and President of Prime Health to discuss some of the oft-missed prospects in this space. The gist? “You can’t get paid in Medicaid” is simply not true. Whatever the post-pandemic capacity, telehealth is here to stay. Redox is also here to ensure our customers that staying for telehealth means expansion for all of us.