Ernst & Young Creates A Telehealth Maturity Index To Benchmark Emerging Programs

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Ernst & Young announced during HIMSS last week that it has created a Telemedicine Adoption Model that it hopes will become the de facto means of measuring the maturity of telemedicine programs as the industry takes root in traditional care delivery. The new benchmarking system attempts to rank programs based on how integrated they are with traditional care delivery, and how many services and specialty consultations are offered remotely.

At first glance, the model reads like a knock-off of the HIMSS EMR Adoption Model, though in its press release, E&Y likens its new model to the benchmarking levels used by trauma centers to differentiate between Level I and Level V trauma centers. In its Telemedicine Adoption Model, E&Y outlines eight stages, ranging from zero to seven, with stage zero representing telemedicine programs that are small in scope and centrally managed, but that do still have data security policies in place. Throughout next six stages, various emerging trends such as interoperability with core EHRs, remote patient monitoring, and consumption of patient-generated wearable and medical device data are introduced.

Stage seven is awarded to telemedicine programs that use “complex telemedicine technology” such as specialized cameras or Web-enabled exam instruments to deliver care across multiple specialties. Though details on what constitutes complex telemedicine technology have not yet been provided, the description suggests that E&Y will be looking for systems like HealthSpot’s telemedicine kiosks, which include blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, thermometers, and even specialized cameras for examining the eye and inner ear. Stage seven recognition also requires the use of remote patient monitoring tools, data capture from medical devices and wearables, and integration with the internal EHRs.

The new adoption model was created by a panel of experts that E&Y recruited from academic medical intuitions, including UPMC director of telehealth Natasa Sokolovich, JD, MSHCPM, along with representatives from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Duke University Health System, and several other health systems.


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