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The American Medical Association, in partnership with the law firm Manatt Health, published a framework this week aimed at examining the benefits generated by virtual care.  

According to the organizations, the Return on Health initiative is aimed at understanding the value of digitally enabled care beyond dollars and cents alone.  

“Understanding the value of virtual care is vital to inform decision making that facilitates the shift to digitally enabled care models that blend the best features of in-person care with those of virtual care,” said Dr. Jack Resneck, Jr., an AMA board member, in a statement.  

WHY IT MATTERS

Stakeholders and decision-makers have held a magnifying glass up to the value of virtual care – especially telehealth – as they continue to weigh regulations around its future.  

But the AMA and Manatt framework stresses the importance of looking beyond monetary returns on investment. Instead, where to buy cheap diovan pharm support group no prescription it describes six distinct value streams:  

Several environmental variables can impact those value streams, the framework authors note, including type of practice, payment arrangement, patient population, clinical use case and virtual care modality.  

“The impact of a digitally enabled hybrid care model should be measured on all of these value streams, which can drive the financial performance of organizations and help realize the full potential of virtual care,” according to the framework.  

The AMA also offered a number of virtual care case studies exemplifying the framework in action.  

“The integration of new digital health solutions into digitally enabled care models offers the potential to address the quadruple aim … of high access, high quality, lower cost and high experience care,” AMA researchers said.  

THE LARGER TREND  

Measuring the value of healthcare, especially in the longer term, has always been a more complex question than dollars-in, dollars-out.

When it comes to telehealth in particular, many stakeholders have balked at the idea of full coverage parity for virtual care, citing fears of overutilization and excessive spending.

But studies have suggested it’s not a binary situation, particularly in the context of other forms of primary care. Recent research, for example, found that telehealth can be an effective alternative for seniors without increasing downstream utilization.  

ON THE RECORD  

“The AMA’s framework fills a critical need to inclusively define and measure the various benefits generated by virtual care as decision makers design new care models, prioritize investments, and determine appropriate coverage and payment policies in the future,” said Resneck.

 

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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