Panel Presentation

(T4-01) An Emerging Research and Policy Agenda for Telemedicine

Sunday, April 23
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Location: W331 A

In early 2016, with support from the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy (KPIHP), ATA leaders led a discussion with an invited group of experts from AcademyHealth and PIAA (Physician Insurers Association of America) with the purpose of developing an overarching research and policy agenda for telemedicine. In a one-day face-to-face meeting and additional conference calls, the group developed an inclusive framework that encompasses the regulatory and payment policy context for telehealth (e.g., credentialing, payment, risk management); delivery system factors (e.g., provider types, telehealth modalities, technology infrastructure); and outcomes of telehealth interventions (e.g., increased access, improved quality, utilization changes).

In September 2016, three ATA members presented the research and policy framework in a challenge workshop at Concordium 2016, an AcademyHealth meeting, and engaged in an interactive discussion with the audience about myths and misperceptions about telehealth. The discussion led to insights about how to promote culture change and increase adoption of telehealth as an extension and enhancement of current healthcare delivery that increases patient satisfaction, improves access and quality, and can improve efficiencies and reduce costs. The discussion also covered the role of evidence, either through quality improvement or other demonstration projects and funded studies, in making business and clinical decisions about establishing and expanding telehealth services.

Based on this feedback, the framework seems to have potential to help educate policy-makers, payers, and health systems about the value of telehealth and to frame discussions about implementation barriers, including risk management, technology costs, and organizational culture. By standardizing language for telehealth modalities and services, the framework could help to increase familiarity with the field among purchasers, leading to increased adoption and information-sharing about promising practices. However, questions remain about how to disseminate and use the framework to help coordinate policy, research, and implementation efforts in the field.

We propose to conduct a panel discussion that brings together these ATA, AcademyHealth, PIAA, and KPIHP partners in an open discussion at ATA 2017. Our intended purpose is to accelerate the development of a collaborative, multi-sector effort that will lead to culture change, an increase in telehealth adoption, and additional support for more systematic research implementation strategies, quality improvement, and patient engagement. After presenting the framework we have developed, each of our panel members will briefly discuss how integrated systems are currently documenting telehealth successes and promoting telehealth services within different markets. Then we will engage in a moderated Q and A with the audience about how ATA might engage with other partners to help move forward on a coordinated policy and research agenda for the field.

Learning Objectives:

Margo Edmunds

Vice President, Evidence Generation and Translation

Margo Edmunds, PhD, is a Washington, DC-based policy entrepreneur and strategy consultant who specializes in health information and communications technology. Currently a Vice President at AcademyHealth, she oversees portfolios on delivery system reform, population health, and research translation and dissemination with government and private sector clients. She is currently leading the development of a telehealth research and policy agenda in collaboration with ATA and PIAA, with support from the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy. Dr. Edmunds has launched, managed, and evaluated policy initiatives and campaigns in hospitals and clinics, communities, non-profit organizations, and small businesses. She has held senior management positions in academic, nonprofit, and corporate settings, including the Institute of Medicine; University of California, San Francisco; Children’s Defense Fund; and Booz Allen Hamilton. For several years, she has taught health policy and health communication at Johns Hopkins University, including online and field training in risk communication for the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health Preparedness. In 2013, she received an award from the American Medical Informatics Association for her leadership of AMIA’s Public Policy Committee. Dr. Edmunds is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and has served on the Boards of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and Friends of the National Library of Medicine and has expertise in governance, strategic communications, and crisis management. She earned her PhD in community/clinical psychology at The Pennsylvania State University and completed a Research and Clinical Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


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Reed V. Tuckson

Managing Director
Tuckson Health Connections, LLC

Reed V. Tuckson, MD, FACP, is Managing Director of Tuckson Health Connections, LLC, a health and medical care consulting business that brings people and ideas together to promote optimal health outcomes and value through innovation and integration across the fields of prevention; public health; consumer activation; quality care delivery; the translation of science and technology into value producing interventions; and optimization of big data and analytics.

Previously, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs for UnitedHealth Group; Senior Vice President for Professional Standards of the AMA; Senior Vice President of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation; President of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science; and Commissioner of Public Health for the District of Columbia.

Dr. Tuckson is the immediate past President and Board Member of the American Telemedicine Association; Chairman of the Board for ViTel Net, LLC, a leading innovator in telehealth solutions; a Board Member of LifePoint Health, a leading hospital company dedicated to providing high-value care and services to growing regions, rural communities and vibrant small towns across the nation; and Cell Therapeutics, Inc., a public corporation concerned with the development of cancer pharmaceuticals.

At the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Tuckson currently serves on the Clinical Center Research Hospital Board and the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, currently serving on the Health Sciences Policy Board; Co-Chair of the Digital Learning Collaborative; and a member of the Business Action Collaborative.

He is a graduate of Howard University, Georgetown University School of Medicine, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s General Internal Medicine Residency and Fellowship Programs, where he was also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar studying at the Wharton School of Business.


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Karen Rheuban

University of Virginia

Dr Rheuban directs the Center for Telehealth at the University of Virginia. She is a pediatric cardiologist and past president of the ATA.


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