Telemedicine a 'cornerstone' solution to Triple Aim efforts

When it comes to meeting goals set by Triple Aim, telemedicine is one of the "cornerstone solutions to the problem," Yulun Wang, Ph.D., president of the American Telemedicine Association Board of Directors, tells EHR Intelligence.

There are not many options for improving care while also decreasing costs, Wang says, but telemedicine is an area where health systems, hospitals and physician practices should work more aggressively.

"[Telemedicine] can be used across a very large number of applications," he tells EHR Intelligence. "In some shape or form, telemedicine can be used in any aspect of healthcare delivery at a lower cost while driving up quality simultaneously."

One area where telehealth could save money for the industry is in addressing chronic disease, Wang says, especially as the industry focuses on a pay-for-value model and keeping chronic patients well. Preventive care and telemedicine go hand-in-hand.

Through technology, providers can link to their patients who are at home and gain data to "head off negative trend lines," Wang adds.

However, to spur adoption of telehealth to fulfill Triple Aim a sixth-month initiative by the Center for Connected Health Policy found there needs to be a solid base of credible evidence along with improved financing and reimbursement.

To that end, researchers at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement found few digital health technologies simultaneously emphasize all components of Triple Aim. The researchers found no relationship between investment and evidence of the technologies' value. And some technology types, such as telemedicine solutions, did not find a single example of an evidence-based offering.

Telemedicine has the potential to save U.S. employers $6 billion annually, according to an analysis by Towers Watson. 

To learn more:
- read the EHR Intelligence article