Spero M. Manson, Ph.D.
University of Colorado Denver
It is particularly important to not isolate the discourse among those in this particular section of the industry from the broader narrative about health care. The issues regarding telehealth usage are matters of degree and emphasis not substantively different than what all others in the health care industry are facing. Telehealth leaders need to ensure that discussions take place within the broader landscape.
In spite of challenges, RCTs are possible in telehealth. The challenges associated with the methods and procedures of telehealth are the same ones faced in other studies, but may require more creativity to design studies that elevate the level of the science of telehealth. Telehealth leaders should not shy away from seeking to meet the highest expectations around scientific merit. Telehealth intervention research provides an opportunity to pursue the science of dissemination to enhance the diffusion, adoption, and operationalization of effective models. In that regard, further study is needed to analyze and describe the critical components of successful telehealth models and how they can be assembled in various settings or geographic areas in a way that remain true to the original models that gave rise to them.
Thomas S. Nesbitt, M.D., M.P.H.
University of California, Davis, Health System
Ongoing discourse about telehealth is needed, especially with those who are not telemedicine enthusiasts. In some ways telehealth is held to a higher standard of evidence, but we need to move past that. Also, due to the current environment, evidence on value is essential. Technology is not an end in and of itself. Instead of talking just about telehealth, we need to be talking about evidence-based models of care that are better facilitated with the use of technology. Lastly, consideration is needed for the implications of student and resident training. Rural practitioners need to be prepared for the next century rather than trained for the past century.
Sherilyn Z. Pruitt, M.P.H.
Health Resources and Services Administration
These are exciting times that include both change and chaos. Whenever there is a lot of change, there is a lot of opportunity. Innovative models have shown tremendous successes, and along with that will be some failures. For example, it would be interesting to find out why some providers have abandoned the use of telehealth—what did they do and why did it not work?
The discussions of the day have raised many questions: