Nearly all of us have moved in some way or another into operating within the virtual space. My family spent a virtual holiday followed by a virtual new year’s celebration with family and friends. As a community, we have shifted to virtual clinical care, wondering all the while whether we are achieving the same outcomes as an in-person visit.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (our go-to source for evidence) has published two reviews for telehealth, one for Acute and Chronic Care Consultations and one more general review on Mapping the Evidence for Patient Outcomes From Systematic Reviews along with a summary white paper here.  The New York times asks whether telehealth is here to stay and the Seattle Times has called for making virtual office visits a permanent part of Medicare. Medicare’s eventual decision will go a long way in deciding policy and coverage.

Building a community standard around telehealth clinical services is one of our priority areas this year and our workgroup is meeting for the first time this Friday at 8am. Defining the scope of our work is a main priority – I doubt we will be able to do a deep dive into the nuances of every health service, but we will develop standards and answer questions to give our community confidence in quality and a pathway to address variability.

Ginny Weir, MPH
Director, Bree Collaborative
Interim CEO, Foundation for Health Care Quality