Congress to Revisit Telehealth for Chronic Care Legislation
“The reintroduction of this act is a step in the right direction to incorporate telehealth solutions into the treatment of chronic illness, specifically strokes, and help Medicare leverage the use of innovative technologies to improve patient outcomes and lower medical costs,” CHI Executive Director Morgan Reed said in a statement.
“However, Congress has more to do to bring the benefits of connected health technologies to more Americans, including improving the use of remote monitoring in community health centers and rural health clinics,” Reed added.
BECAUSE DEFINITIONS MATTER IN HEALTH CARE: Telemedicine is a field still coming of age; people still argue that telehealth and telemedicine are different things. More nuanced terms like "store and forward" are even squishier. Does it include sending data collected by blood glucose monitors to be analyzed by a nurse? Do self-reported medical histories count? It matters because state regulators need to police what's good and bad telemedicine practice and insurers need to know what they must pay for - and not.
- The Connected Health Initiative - a group of telemedicine-minded individuals convened by ACT | The App Association - is out with its own proposed definition of "store and forward" or "asynchronous" telemedicine: "the sharing of data from one party to another through the use of a device or software that records, stores, and then sends such data via any communications or technological means.
- The group's paper, which includes five use cases, comes as the American Medical Association is working to update its CPT coding system with telemedicine services. Pros can find the full paper here.
Politico Morning eHealth
TIME TO TURN IN YOUR HOMEWORK: Responses are due today on CMS’s request for information on implementing policies required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. Early birds filed their comments Monday. They included the American Medical Informatics Association, which urged CMS to supplant existing process-based measures with more outcomes-based measures. A coalition of telehealth advocates, including ACT | The App Association, called for including “remote monitoring of patient generated health data” as a subcategory of clinical practice improvement activities, and urged Medicare remove telemedicine restrictions for doctors practicing in alternative payment models. Medical societies led by the American Medical Association called for the elimination of administrative burdens and better quality and reporting programs.
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“Morgan Reed, executive director for ACT | The App Association, was among AirStrip's supporters.
‘We're proud to see AirStrip take to Apple's big stage today and demo its incredible technology for the Apple Watch,’ Reed said in a statement. ‘The apps take full advantage of the powerful sensors packed inside the Watch, providing doctors and patients with live data on vitals--from anywhere.’'
“Last week, Executive Director of ACT/The App Association Morgan Reed testified at a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet on the future of the Internet of Things--and spoke to committee leaders about the promise the technology holds for healthcare.
ACT's primary goal, Reed said, was to help Congress understand the promise IoT offers. He wants to make sure congressional leaders don't think it's all about having a ’refrigerator on the Internet’--which Reed noted ‘misses just how powerful all of these connective devices can be for helping us live our lives with more control and less waste.’'
Mobi Health News
“Reed, meanwhile, focused his talk entirely on the mobile health segment, describing how, in the future, ’rather than a yearly update on one’s vitals in a doctor’s office, sensors will empower people to share it with a care team, have it incorporated in a cloud-based health record, or shown on a dashboard app in just a few taps.’ Services like Microsoft HealthVault, Apple Health, and Apple ResearchKit are already moving in that direction, he said. Yet as of now, few doctors are willing to prescribe these tools to patients, because of regulatory uncertainty.
‘Questions about privacy, security, reimbursement, and government regulation meet to create an environment where companies are worried about making devices more medically relevant, and physicians worry about the impact on their practices,’ Reed said. ‘Patients and care providers must also know that their information is private and secure. Industry best practices around the treatment of sensitive health data, as well as a commitment from government to support these practices, are important to establish trust and push this industry forward.’'
“There are 50 million definitions out there for eHealth,” jokes Brian Scarpelli, the ACT’s senior policy counsel and a CHI member. More importantly, he says, “there are conflicting messages” within state and federal agencies that affect how eHealth, mHealth, digital health, connected health, telehealth, telemedicine and all those other terms are used.
“It can get very confusing,” adds Alexandra Cooke, a tech policy professional with ACT and fellow CHI member. “In some cases it’s not the word itself [that is confusing], but how it applies to healthcare or how it’s used.”
2014 Fierce Healthcare
The letter also comes on the heels of a new ACT-The App Association report, released in part this week, regarding the mobile app industry which the report states has become a $68 billion industry in only six years, with current revenues expected to hit $4 billion this year and $26 billion in three years. The exponential growth is driving huge job creation, states the report, with 56 percent of app developer companies currently hiring. There is an average of 19.8 openings needing to be filled at those hiring businesses, according to the report.
ACT's Executive Director Morgan Reed said his group is pleased lawmakers are responding so quickly to its requests and are strongly committed to mHealth innovation.
“‘Apple is leaving your HealthKit data on the device and not collecting it,’ said Morgan Reed, executive director at The App Association, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that works with patient advocates and app developers.
According to Reed, this prevents third-party app developers from selling your health data without your consent.
‘It also means that if an employer wants access to your health care information, they would have to demand that you give it to them,’ he said.”
"But selling wearables as medical devices comes with strings attached.
‘It would be far easier for a product like this to remain in the 'wellness' category,’ said Morgan Reed, executive director at The App Association, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that works with patient advocates and app developers.”
Politico Morning eHealth
MOBILE HEALTH ON TAP AT THE WHITE HOUSE: ACT, the App Association, brought tech entrepreneurs to the White House Monday to demonstrate mobile health and talk about privacy law. Morgan Reed, executive director of ACT, said his group introduced small businesses driving the mobile health industry to senior White House staffers. “A big part of the discussion was the continuing need for HIPAA to not be a barrier, and how to get incentives realigned,” Reed said. Travis Bond, CEO of CareSync, a startup that gathers medical records in an online portal for patients to access and bring to their doctors on mobile apps, demonstrated the app’s functionality for White House staffers. It was “well-received,” Bond said. Reed and Bond talked with staffers about the ways HIPAA can be used to encourage access to patient records. “Normally we say HIPAA gets in the way, which it does from time to time,” Reed said. Mobile health groups including CareSync, Airstrip and CARES will accompany ACT to brief Senate HELP staffers on interoperability, mHealth and HIPAA today, Reed said.
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The privacy developer guidelines that do exist are outdated, said Morgan Reed, director of The App Association, which represents some 50,000 app developers and IT companies.
And hospitals, being extremely risk-averse, will not do business with partners whose technology might not be compliant, making it hard for startups to win new business.
Reed: “Often we talk to developers who have got their first round of funding. They have a good idea that promotes good patient outcomes, but then they get into the development cycle and the sales just aren’t there. There’s a disconnect.”
To begin to address the lack of guidelines, the Office of Civil Rights says it has already held several meetings with The App Association.
Politico Morning eHealth – Dedicated ACT/Cloud Computing newsletter
“Morgan Reed, executive director of the App Association, said the agency had provided ‘much-needed clarity’ around several issues related to cloud computing. But his group would still like clarity in other areas — the agency, Reed said, added some new terms that aren’t quite filled in yet.
NOTES FROM ACT: Your correspondent and his Politico colleagues took a visit to the group’s offices Thursday morning, and wanted to pass on a few notes from our discussion:” …….