Reading: An Emergent Research and Policy Framework for Telehealth


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Commentary / Editorial

An Emergent Research and Policy Framework for Telehealth


Margo Edmunds ,

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Reed Tuckson,

Joy Lewis,

Brian Atchinson,

Karen Rheuban,

Hank Fanberg,

Lois Olinger,

Robert Rosati,

Cheryl Austein-Casnoff,

Gary Capistrant,

Latoya Thomas


Context: Telehealth is a fast-growing sector in healthcare, using a variety of technologies to exchange ­information across locations and improve access, quality, and outcomes across the continuum of care. Thousands of studies and hundreds of systematic reviews have been done, but their variability leaves many questions about effectiveness, implementation priorities, and return on investment.

Objectives: There is an urgent need for a systematic, policy-relevant framework to integrate regulatory, operational, and clinical factors and guide future investments in telehealth research and practice.

Methods: An invited multidisciplinary group of 21 experts from AcademyHealth, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy (KP), and the Physician Insurers Association of America (PIAA) met to review and discuss the components of a draft framework for policy-relevant telehealth research. The framework was revised and presented in a challenge workshop at Concordium 2016, and some additional refinements were made. The current framework encompasses the regulatory and payment policy context for telehealth; delivery system factors; and outcomes of telehealth interventions.

Findings: Based on the feedback at Concordium 2016, the framework seems to have potential to help educate policy-makers, payers, and health systems about the value of telehealth and to frame discussions about implementation barriers, including risk management concerns, technology costs, and organizational culture. However, questions remain about how to disseminate and use the framework to help coordinate policy, research, and implementation efforts in the delivery system.

How to Cite: Edmunds M, Tuckson R, Lewis J, Atchinson B, Rheuban K, Fanberg H, et al.. An Emergent Research and Policy Framework for Telehealth. eGEMs (Generating Evidence & Methods to improve patient outcomes). 2017;5(2):1. DOI:
Published on 29 Mar 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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