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Rural Telehealth and Healthcare System Readiness Measurement Framework - Final Report 

Date of Publication:
NOV 2021
Associated Project:
Rural Telehealth
Telehealth use, increasing in recent years, has been further accelerated by changes in healthcare delivery during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Telehealth has the potential to improve the quality of care in rural areas by increasing access to specialists and reducing costs; it can also contribute to healthcare system readiness and improve ability to provide continued care during emergencies. However, quality measurement related to telehealth and system readiness is limited. The National Quality Forum (NQF) convened a multistakeholder Rural Telehealth and Healthcare System Readiness Committee to develop a framework for quality measurement assessing the impact of telehealth on healthcare system readiness and health outcomes during emergencies in rural areas. This final Recommendations Report describes the elements of this framework, including five recommended areas for measurement: (1) Access to Care and Technology, (2) Costs, Business Models, and Logistics; (3) Experience; (4) Effectiveness; and (5) Equity. The Report also lists 26 existing measures that can be used to assess telehealth care provided in rural areas, as well as 14 measure concepts that should be prioritized for future measure development. Finally, 10 recommendations are provided to guide current and future priorities for measurement in this area.