9. Recruitment and retention: Increase and then meet demand
Strong health IT is the No. 1 incentive that attracts wage-earning primary care physicians and other health professionals to a community. Keeping health care in local communities increases patient confidence, keeping the patient — and the payment — local. It also improves physician confidence, as doctors across a region will know they have the support needed to answer some of medicine’s toughest questions, regardless of where they practice. Health IT also helps retain and recruit doctors in historically underserved rural communities, and attracts high-wage jobs.
10. Credentialing and privileging: Care without borders
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other national organizations are working at the policy level to address the challenges associated with licensing, credentialing and privileging for telemedicine. It’s important to keep an eye on progress, and to support the state and national organizations that are lobbying to make these much-needed changes.
11. Reimbursement: Ensuring payment for the next generation of care
Similar to licensing, credentialing and privileging, making sure physicians and clinicians are paid for the work they do via telemedicine is where the rubber meets the road. Thanks to several local nonprofits, state agencies and countless volunteers, Oregon is well on its way to overcoming reimbursement issues. However, work remains at the state and federal levels, and with insurance payers. This challenge can be overcome with innovation and collaboration to ensure that all members of the health-care continuum are reimbursed appropriately for all levels and types of care.
12. Policy: Top-down collaboration and support of the continuum
Legislation and policy refinement at the state and federal levels is critical to helping providers invest in solutions that serve the Triple Aim. From policy for broadband network deployment to licensing, credentialing, privileging and reimbursement — local and national organizations are working to reduce the barriers to full use and adoption of a national system. Your voice and support is critical to their ability to do so.
You Can’t Go Alone
All 12 best practices cannot — and should not — be performed by any one provider organization. They require the health-care community working together: provider, policy and funding sources, and nonprofits.
The key, as a health-care provider, is to consciously determine what you can feasibly address on your own, and where you need to look to others for assistance. Gone are the days of going it alone; providers in each state have a wealth of experience and resources to share with the health-care community. Information on lessons learned, cultivating new strategic partnerships and referral patterns, and investments poised to be leveraged at a state level are all areas that benefit from a strong health IT network.