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State Innovation Models Initiative to fund telehealth, EHRs

A portion of an investment approaching $1 billion, made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will go toward stimulating the practice of telehealth and increasing patient access to EHRs.

An Accenture report analyzes how states that created State Health Innovation Plans as part of CMS’ State Innovation Models Initiative are planning to assign the funds supplied to them and where they stand in the development process. CMS doled out money in two stages. First, in 2013, they awarded nearly $300 million to 25 states for plotting and developing an innovation plan. In 2014, 28 states, three territories and Washington D.C. received a sum of $660 million to design and test their plans.

The Accenture report examined the 25 states that were part of the first round of the State Innovation Models Initiative and found that 19 intend to increase use of virtual care technology, including remote patient monitoring and telehealth. Nearly two-thirds of the states will attempt to involve a larger number of patients in their care by offering them patient portals and increasing their ability to view their EHRs. For example, patients in Delaware will be able to use mobile applications to view their EHRs and assess care options.

More than half (14) of the participating states are going to deploy analytics to increase their knowledge of population health, reduce care redundancy and combine analysis of health data and human services data. Analyzing both of those data sets will help create more opportunities for preventive care, such as wellness programs, and may reduce the long-term cost of patient treatment.

Each of the 25 states will invest in patient-centered medical homes, with a focus on improving primary care integration with specialists. All 25 will also devote some of their funds to hire lower-cost community health workers in an effort to place more of the cost of care on more specialized caregivers.

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