What You Need to Know:
– Consumer Technology Association (CTA) released a new set of industry-led guidelines on virtual care, convening health tech leaders like Doctor on Demand, Livongo, Validic, and BioIntelliSense.
– The virtual care principles offer core guidelines and practices across patient engagement, standards of care, quality, continuity of care, prescribing and privacy and security.
– While virtual care is not a panacea, in the midst of an outbreak, evaluation, triage and widespread testing of individuals, virtual care will be key to fighting COVID-19.
Today, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) introduced a new set of industry-created, voluntary principles for virtual care. The recommendations to address and advance the use of virtual care tools – such as telemedicine, remote patient monitoring and real-time communication between patients and clinicians – follow the Centers for Disease Control (Feb. 29, 2020) call for the increased use of telehealth to evaluate, triage and care for patients in the fight against pandemic outbreaks.
Recent COVID-19 Pandemic Reflects Growing Importance of Virtual Care Adoption
The CTA Guiding Principles on Virtual Care were created and reviewed by about ten CTA member companies including 98point6, BioIntelliSense, Doctor On Demand, Livongo and Validic. As virtual care tools continue to grow in both numbers and capabilities, there is a need for transparent and consensus-based principles to better guide developers, providers, and patients.
The virtual care principles are voluntary, based on virtual care concepts currently present and developing in U.S. law and offered to complement, not supplant, the applicable legal requirements and regimes with which companies need to comply.
While the guidelines were not created with the current pandemic in mind, for the healthcare system to deal with clinician shortages, an aging population, the persistence of chronic diseases and health inequities, technology-enabled solutions like virtual care are vital.
16 Virtual Care Principles & Recommendations
The virtual care principles offer core guidelines and practices across patient engagement, standards of care, quality, continuity of care, prescribing and privacy and security. A selection of the 16 total core principles include, but are not limited to:
– Design the virtual care tool to allow for universal access, and to allow users to ask questions about appropriate use and functionality.
– Virtual care tool developers should inform users of potential benefits and risk associated with using the virtual care tool based on input from appropriate healthcare professionals and review of current research.
– Patient engagement should not interrupt or inhibit a total care plan;
– Ensure consumers have access to their data.
“As the healthcare industry expands how people engage with health care services, there’s never been a more urgent need for innovative tech solutions,” said René Quashie, VP of digital health, CTA. “Transparent and consensus-based deployment of virtual care tools will help us realize the long list of benefits – increased accessibility, improved quality of care and ultimately, better health outcomes for everyone, no matter where you live.”
“The CTA’s virtual care principles give healthcare companies the necessary recommendations to protect consumer trust and improve virtual care. This is important for both individual companies and the industry, especially during public health emergencies and natural disasters,” said Ross Friedberg, chief legal & business affairs officer, Doctor On Demand and board member of CTA’s Health and Fitness Technology Division.
“Consumers are open to the benefits of virtual primary care, which include removing the barriers to access that exist today and improving patient care. At Doctor On Demand, we believe there is an enormous opportunity to strengthen health care by connecting consumers to virtual primary care.”
“With 147 million Americans living with chronic conditions today, and these conditions accounting for 90 percent of United States healthcare costs, it is more important than ever to offer consumer-first solutions that make it easier for people to stay healthy,” said Livongo Chief Product Officer Amar Kendale. “In partnership with the CTA, Livongo is proud to take a leadership role ensuring that virtual health and care solutions provide the best possible experience while delivering key health outcomes and protecting the privacy of health consumers.”