With telemedicine as a rapidly growing industry, how can patients tell if a healthcare system’s telemedicine program is high quality? The ClearHealth Quality Institute (CHQI), an independent health care accrediting body, has created a telemedicine/telehealth accreditation program—the only one in the US that’s supported by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). And now, the University of California San Diego Health and the Texas-based CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System are the first two health systems in the nation to have earned Telemedicine Accreditation.
The goal of the Telemedicine Accreditation Program (TAP) is for patients to have access to safe, high-quality, and competent health care no matter which modality is being used or which type of clinical service is being provided—in other words, for health facilities to provide best-in-class telemedicine worldwide. With this accreditation status, these two health systems are announcing to consumers, the medical community, and regulators that their telemedicine policies, processes, and programs meet the high standards set by CHQI regarding their clinical, technological, legal, and administrative aspects. The CHQI accreditation examines each service line and covers three different models: consumer-to-provider (such as triage services), provider-to-consumer (such as mental health counseling), and provider-to-provider (such as consults). As part of the evaluation process, the CHQI provided meaningful, constructive feedback to each provider to help improve operations.
With the Telemedicine Accreditation Program underway, the CHQI has already begun formulating standards for the program’s next accreditation modules: Telemedicine Outcomes and Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM).