It's been more than a year since physician practices—some providing some telehealth services before the pandemic, but most others never venturing into virtual visits—quickly pivoted to primarily caring for patients online out of necessity.
With physicians adopting telehealth more quickly and completely than they would have without a global health crisis, it's allowed organizations such as the AMA to research patients' and physicians' experiences and identify opportunities to help practices transition into a new era of digitally enabled care that is sustainable and adds value for everyone going forward.
With that knowledge, the AMA recently launched the Telehealth Immersion Program to help physicians, practices and health systems implement, optimize, sustain and scale their telehealth efforts. The program will provide education on telehealth, build the evidence base supporting telehealth's use as a modality to provide patient care and serve as a network where physicians and other key stakeholders can collaborate and share the best practices.
The program is part of the AMA STEPS Forward™ Innovation Academy that lets physicians learn from peers and experts and discover ways to implement practice innovation strategies.
"We want to ensure that physicians feel empowered and prepared to continue offering virtual care now and beyond the pandemic," Stacy Lloyd, MPH, the AMA's director of digital health and operations, explained during a recent webinar introducing the AMA Telehealth Immersion Program.
The program will explore barriers and challenges that exist in telehealth today, including access to technology, broadband and digital literacy. It also will provide foundational information about the telehealth landscape and take deep dives into areas such as:
- Clinical best practices.
- Integration with other health care technologies.
- Telehealth's impact related to elements of the quadruple aim.
- Virtual care expansion opportunities.
There are several ways physicians and others can engage in the AMA Telehealth Immersion Program.
Webinars. These didactic presentations, which will include a Q&A portion, will run approximately 60 minutes and increase participants' knowledge on a specific topic.
Peer-to-peer sessions. These interactive sessions will run 90 minutes and provide deep dives into virtual care use cases. Each session will include a short didactic presentation followed by two case-based presentations and discussions.
Mini-boot camps. These mini-conferences will typically run between 90 minutes and two hours long. They will include didactic presentations, interactive peer-to-peer sessions, breakout rooms and networking opportunities. The first boot camp is scheduled for September.
Online discussions. These asynchronous discussions on a specific topic with program participants and content experts will take place over a 10-day period on the AMA Physician Innovation Network.
On-demand resources. A comprehensive library of program session recordings and related educational resources will be available online.
Check out this great lineup of 2021 AMA Telehealth Immersion Program activities.
"Wherever you might be in your telehealth journey, we are hoping this program can provide you with the support needed to help you further your organization's strategies around telehealth," Bernadette Lim, MBA, project manager of digital health strategy for the AMA, said during the webinar.
Learn how the AMA is advancing telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
State, local and national specialty medical societies and associations also have a chance to collaborate with the AMA Telehealth Immersion Program. Collaborators are being asked to promote the program and its events to their members and to help with a survey in the fall to assess telehealth use across the country, states and specialties.
In return, collaborators will have a chance to promote their own telehealth resources, offer engagement opportunities for their members and drive program content by having members participate as experts or case-study presenters at virtual events. Collaborators also can be recognized on the AMA Telehealth Immersion Program website. If you're interested in joining the Telehealth Immersion Program as a collaborator, email [email protected].
The Telehealth Immersion Program builds on other resources the AMA offers, such as the AMA Telehealth Implementation Playbook, which walks physicians through a 12-step process to implement real-time audio and visual visits between a clinician and a patient. It is a powerful resource for practices now and as they continue to implement telehealth beyond the pandemic.
The benefits of expanded telemedicine are clear. Join physicians who are advocating to permanently expand virtual care coverage