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ILHIE Telehealth Work Group Minutes - June 7 2011 

June 7, 2011

Attendees (phone and in-person):

  • Laura Zaremba, Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT)
  • Mary McGinnis, OHIT
  • Wesley Valdes, OHIT /University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Kathy Webster, Loyola University Medical Center
  • Amy Panagopoulos, Joint Commission
  • Laura O'Keefe, Joint Commission
  • Alan Kraus, Northern Illinois University
  • Deborah Seale, Community Member
  • Nancy Kaysak, Community Member
  • Daniel Szewczyk, OHIT Legal Intern
  • Amanda Fraerman, OHIT Legal Intern
  • Robert Bollinger, OHIT Legal Intern

Wesley Valdes (Wes) took roll call and apologized for a technical glitch in the e-mail reminder sent to participants. There was a question as to the transmission of meeting minutes and agenda, and it was decided that they are to be posted on the Web site. The minutes from the previous meeting are approved.

Laura Zaremba (Laura) provided an update on the progress of the ILHIE. The Request for Proposal (RFP) for statewide HIE infrastructure was publicly released on Friday, June 3, 2011. This RFP covered the various directories, record locator service, and security services that represent the core services of the ILHIE. The statewide HIE infrastructure is expected to be implemented by April 2012. The ILHIE Authority Board of Directors (Board) was appointed by Governor Quinn earlier this spring. The Board is now in the process of appointing the ILHIE Advisory Committee.

Wes asked if there were any deliverables the work group could offer to the ILHIE. Laura said that a whitepaper on the telehealth landscape in Illinois would be helpful. This paper could be two to three pages and discuss contemplated uses of the HIE infrastructure, ongoing telehealth projects, and other relevant information. The audience for the whitepaper is the new Board. Mary McGinnis (Mary) added that it had been a year since OHIT conducted its strategic assessment of the Illinois HIT landscape. This is an ideal time for a new assessment because many of the initiatives that were theoretical last year are now occurring.

Alan Kraus (Alan) recommended that the work group should start to look at possible telehealth and telemedicine projects. The issue for many providers, especially critical access hospitals, is how to fund these projects. Alan mentioned that it would be useful to compile a list of projects that are feasible and start to actively pursue funding from a variety of sources. Wes commented that many telehealth projects start from a clinical perspective and do not focus on the educational or research aspects of these programs. This often prevents them from reaching their full potential.

Mary inquired as to the sources of funding for these projects. Alan mentioned that tertiary hospitals will receive benefits from the HIE infrastructure and that they may be a possible source of initial funding. It was generally agreed that funding from the State of Illinois will be problematic. Alan said that there may be some federal grants in this area that should be pursued aggressively. Private dollars are another source of funding that should be explored. Alan estimated the average cost of one of these projects to be around $50 – $60,000. Wes mentioned that the cost may be much lower than that. He said that there are more efficient ways of running these projects that could reduce the costs, such as using a collaborative staffing model.

Laura added that the main role of the telehealth group was to develop an understanding as to the direction the state needs to go with telehealth policy. This includes identifying what problems the state would be trying to address with telehealth and what purpose telehealth promotion across the state would serve.

Alan suggested that the work group come up with five examples that they can work on and include in the whitepaper. Telestroke is a possibility, as is working with the VA to help individuals in rural areas gain access to mental health resources. Wes added that the paper should identify the problems that telehealth will address and clarify the role of the ILHIE in that process. A draft of the whitepaper may be ready in the next four weeks.

Wes provided an update from the American Telemedicine Association meeting. There has been the establishment of a research taskforce in an effort to set a national research agenda for telemedicine. Wes has been asked to chair this taskforce and Deborah Seale (Deborah )is also very involved in this task. If there is any interest in participating or contributing to this process, please let Wes or Deborah know.

Deborah mentioned that there is an Illinois discussion group on telehealth, but it is not open to non-ATA members. The discussion group is reviewing alternatives to continue the telehealth discussion in a collaborative way. That group's mid-month meetings will continue and the next one is on June 21, 2011.

Amy Panagopoulos (Amy) provided the work group with an update on the Joint Commission and their view of telehealth. The Joint Commission feels that privileging by proxy lessens the financial burden of providing quality healthcare for rural providers. Amy also noted that federal CMS posted a new rule on May 5, 2011. According to Amy, it seems as if CMS shifted its viewpoint on privileging and credentialing and agrees with the idea of simplifying this process for distance sites. Wes asked if this process has any effect on the claims of corporate negligence that can arise in these situations. Laura O'Keefe responded that there hasn't been any liability issues associated with distance site credentialing and privileging. She also mentioned that they have a long history of credentialing by proxy.

Amy also mentioned that they are working on the language of the agreement that will be included between the two sites. Currently, there is no template but there is a list of some basic requirements. Amy will provide an update on this topic for the next telehealth work group meeting.

Mary mentioned that there may be an opportunity to do a Webinar and provide updates and telehealth information to a wider audience.

There were some requests for a time change because certain clinical practitioners are not available around 10 a.m. A later time was suggested as the best alternative. A survey will be taken to see what time is convenient for most work group participants.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday July 5, 2011.

Meeting adjourned.