The Rural Telehealth and Healthcare System Readiness Committee will create a measurement framework linking quality of care delivered by telehealth, health system readiness, and health outcomes in a disaster. This work will build on NQF’s 2016 Telehealth Framework to Support Measure Development and 2019 Healthcare System Readiness Measurement Framework.
Telehealth offers tremendous potential to transform the healthcare delivery system by overcoming geographical distance, enhancing access to care, and building efficiencies. Telehealth is also a critical component of efforts to improve our nation’s capacity to manage health security threats. While significant progress has been made in these areas, complex challenges persist. Many of our nation’s readiness efforts are still insufficient to respond to specific events like terrorism, pandemics, and severe weather, particularly those that result in a high number of patients who need specialty and/or intensive care. The COVID-19 emergency has all too clearly demonstrated the important linkage between telehealth as a healthcare delivery method and healthcare delivery system readiness for disasters and emergencies. These issues are especially salient in a rural context, where statistics indicate that residents are relatively more disadvantaged than their urban and suburban counterparts, and where communities face a lack of resources along with closing of rural hospitals and other healthcare facilities, healthcare professional shortages, lack of transportation options, and limited availability of medical specialists. An updated measurement approach is needed to understand the impact of telehealth on quality of care and health system readiness in rural areas.
About the Project
NQF will convene a new multistakeholder Telehealth Committee to create a measurement framework linking quality of care delivered by telehealth, healthcare system readiness, and health outcomes in a disaster. NQF will work with the Committee to conduct an environmental scan that will document changes to previously identified measures and measure concepts related to telehealth and healthcare system readiness and propose new priority measures or measure concepts. The environmental scan and resulting report will identify measurement gaps and priorities and explore changes made with telehealth and related policies and practices since 2017 and their impact on healthcare system readiness and patient outcomes
The Committee will be responsible for steering the development of major project components, including:
- Providing guidance on an environmental scan that documents changes to measures and measure concepts related to telehealth; proposes priority measures or measure concepts linking telehealth, rural healthcare system readiness, and health outcomes related to disasters or emergencies; identifies gap areas; and discusses changes in telehealth technology, policy, and practice
- Developing a measurement framework to assess the impact of telehealth on rural healthcare system readiness, including the healthcare systems that rural-dwelling Native Americans rely on
During a 14.5-month period of performance, NQF will conduct an environmental scan identifying measures or measure concepts linking telehealth, rural healthcare system readiness, and health outcomes related to pandemics, disaster events, and other public emergencies, as well as gap areas and potential unintended consequences of using telehealth for enhancing readiness in rural areas. NQF will also develop a recommendations report synthesizing the findings. The Committee will provide input on the environmental scan and the recommendations report. Throughout this project, NQF will also solicit input from NQF membership and public stakeholders at key points (for both the scan and report).
This project is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.
For information about the availability of auxiliary aids and services for NQF’s federally funded projects, please visit http://www.medicare.gov/about-us/nondiscrimination/nondiscrimination-notice.html.
Related NQF Work
- Learn more about NQF’s original telehealth framework (2016-2017) and healthcare system readiness framework (2019).
- Learn more about NQF’s other work on rural health, including development of a core set of rural-relevant measures, discussion of measures with low case-volume challenges, and yearly discussion of measures under consideration as part of the federal pre-rulemaking process.
For more information, please contact the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your interest.