But while these developments are promising, “permanence” and “lasting success” are two very different things.
At Philips, we believe that the key to lasting success in virtual care isn’t just the establishment of permanent payment pathways, but pathways that are connected to the ultimate value that telehealth can deliver (read our position paper on value-based care here.)
To facilitate this, we’re working to secure alignment and cooperation between all parties in the wider healthcare ecosystem – healthcare professionals, the general population, payers, regulators, and the private sector – so we can collectively seek out and experiment with innovative payment approaches, sharing the risk together.
In fact, we’re already heavily engaged with these parties in shaping the conversation around how telehealth reimbursement rates are being set, and how we can create a sustainable clinical pathway for telehealth payment that meets the Quadruple Aim. For example, last summer, we joined more than 340 other leaders in healthcare to lobby the U.S. Congress to maintain the steps the government has taken to make delivery of telehealth services easier during the COVID-19 pandemic . And we have ongoing comment letters to CMS around the annual physician fee schedule, inpatient hospital payment and other payment policies.
In tandem, we’re working closely with providers to help them optimize their data collections, so they can clearly demonstrate the value that their telehealth services deliver. For example, using our open cloud platform HealthSuite, we’re helping them measure: Whether telehealth visits are translating into better management of complex chronic conditions; Whether they’re having a preventive effect, and thereby decreasing unnecessary utilization; Whether patients and staff are providing good feedback on their telehealth experiences, and so on. Eventually, this data will provide valid insights into variance, allowing for differentiated telehealth reimbursement according to quality.