Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Ernst & Young unveils telemedicine adoption model

Steve Rogerson
April 28, 2015
A telemedicine adoption model was unveiled by London-based professional services firm Ernst & Young at this month’s Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) annual conference in Chicago.
For the first time, telemedicine programmes can be easily described and compared through the use of an industry standard. The adoption model was co-developed by the health care advisory practice of E&Y and a panel of national telemedicine experts from leading academic medical centres. The model is similar to the system used to compare trauma centres across the USA.
“As interest in telemedicine intensifies, it is critical that an industry standard be adopted for assessing and describing the maturity of various telemedicine programmes,” said Bill Fera, a principal in E&Y’s health care advisory practice and the leader of the National Telemedicine Nomenclature Advisory Council. “A standardised national system will make it easier for health care providers to compare, analyse and implement telemedicine programmes. This can speed telemedicine adoption and help get this technology to more patients who need it.”
The adoption model is the culmination of a year of research, development and validation by a panel of experts from some of the USA’s most respected academic medical institutions. The result is a comprehensive, eight-level model that describes telemedicine capabilities from infancy to full interoperability.
Under the model, telemedicine practices in the earlier stages of adoption support basic capabilities, such as video conferencing for physician education and access to patient health portals. More mature organisations offer patients virtual consults and use specialised cameras for remote examinations. Hospitals with a high level of adoption significantly integrate telemedicine into care delivery, are capable of remotely monitoring patients, and have the ability to capture all telemedicine data into an internal EHR and exchange those data with external organisations.
“The new telemedicine adoption model is a welcome resource for the industry,” said Natasa Sokolovich, executive director of telehealth at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a member of the National Telemedicine Nomenclature Advisory Council. “Enabling health care providers to easily compare their existing telemedicine and telehealth services with other programmes across the country allows a systematic approach to planning, assessing and maximising investments in telemedicine services and technologies. As someone who has operationalised the strategic expansion of telemedicine services across a large integrated delivery and finance system, I am excited to share this model with my colleagues across the country.”
Other members of the advisory council are Matt Cox and Bill Gable from Duke University Health System, Karen Jackson, Kyle Sharp and Mark Moseley from Ohio State University, David Nash and Alexis Skoufalos from Thomas Jefferson University, Frank Maguire from TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Nate Gladwell, Amalia Cochran and Ted Kimball from the University of Utah, and Brian Carlson and Paul Sternberg from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.