Impact Insights

Week in Review 10/24/14

HHS has transitioned National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo (a.k.a. the head of ONC) to Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, effective immediately. Government Health IT reports that DeSalvo, who is a physician with experience in public health, will be part of HHS’ Ebola response team and work “directly with [HHS Secretary] Sylvia Burwell on pressing public health issues.” It was not clear from the announcement if the transition will be permanent.

Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: Only time will tell if this move will have any significant long-term implications. Purely from ONC’s perspective though, any instability at the agency (perceived or actual) in the near term probably isn’t a good thing with Meaningful Use, EHR certification, and other federal HIT initiatives under fire.


Some interesting studies on telehealth have been published in the last two months:

Most Widely Used Telehealth Technologies by Hospitals and Health Systems

 Telehealth graph_102414

Source: “2014 U.S. Telemedicine Study,” HIMSS Analytics via, August 14, 2014

Impact Advisors’ Thoughts:  We believe that telehealth has the potential to be a big opportunity for many of our clients in the next few years. Right now significant ROI may not be realistic in many regions and states, but traditional barriers to telehealth reimbursement are starting to fall. Hospitals and health systems that continue to experiment with even basic telehealth efforts in the near term will likely have a much easier time engaging patients in their community – and physicians at their organization – down the road when the time comes to roll out more robust (and ROI intensive) initiatives.