Access to affordable, quality health care is a major challenge for Californians in remote, rural, or underserved urban areas. Telehealth, which connects patients and providers with one another as well as a broad range of health care services, can overcome barriers of time and distance to deliver services and information.
While progress has been made in the use of telehealth through demonstration programs over the last 15 years, making these services available to a broad population requires a coordinating entity to link the many players involved and foster a vision for the future.
As part of its mission to help deliver affordable, high-quality care to more Californians, CHCF in 2009 established the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP), a strategy and planning body designed to lead and coordinate telehealth adoption throughout California. The University of California (UC) system has played a key role in advancing telehealth and works closely with CCHP.
The Center for Connected Health Policy:
- Promotes a shared vision for telehealth adoption and integration in the health care delivery system through nonpartisan policy analysis and development
- Works to ensure that California is a national model of telehealth integration
- Identifies and promotes practice patterns, policies, regulations, and statutory changes that will maximize the ability of telehealth to improve health care delivery and outcomes
- Managed and completed a specialty care pilot project for UC campuses and community-based clinics to develop a sustainable model for telehealth services
- Produces briefs summarizing research in telehealth policy
- In 2011 issued its Model Telehealth Statute Report, which directly led to the passage of landmark legislation that supported the expanded use of telehealth in California
- In September 2012, was named the National Telehealth Policy Resource Center, which is charged with providing technical assistance and education to the 12 federally funded regional telehealth resource centers
The foundation has provided nearly $6 million over the past four years to support CCHP in its policy work as well as conducting the safety-net specialty access project. Additional funding support is expected from other public and private organizations as telehealth technologies become increasingly important in achieving the goals of health care reform in California.
CCHP is a program of the Oakland-based Public Health Institute (PHI), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of people in California and around the world.
The eight-minute video below demonstrates how clinics in rural and urban locations are using telemedicine and features interviews with clinic directors, telemedicine coordinators, physicians, and others.