The Joint Commission: The optimal and safe use of telemedicine

By Brian Ward

On October 7, The Joint Commission (TJC) released a new Quick Safety alert on telemedicine and telehealth care. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number of Americans participating in at least one telemedicine visit has increased from 14% to 57%, and telemedicine projected to account for 20% of medical visits in 2020. This has been crucial in promoting social distancing and limiting the spread of the virus during the pandemic, but TJC cautions that there are still barriers and challenges to telemedicine that need to be addressed.

“Some of the challenges include patient populations who are not technologically capable; limited access to technological devices or connectivity issues; and problems monitoring the quality and safety of telehealth,” the organization wrote in a new Quick Safety alert. “An additional limitation is that not all conditions can be appropriately or safely managed via telehealth. Additional barriers include inconsistent reimbursement models; legal and regulatory issues; and questions about security, privacy, and confidentiality, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) concerns.”

The Quick Safety alert has many recommendations and resources for how to improve your facility’s telemedicine programs, overcome barriers, and make your telemedicine program safer and more efficient. To learn more, go to https://www.jointcommission.org/-/media/tjc/newsletters/quick-safety-55-telehealth-9-25-20-final.pdf.