Telehealth Grants – Overview
Telehealth grants help launch successful programs that protect the health, safety, and security threats in the United States.
Telehealth has gained huge popularity over the past few years. A wide range of services is offered through telehealth that makes use of communication technologies and digital information.
The funds obtained through grants are utilized to expand access to telehealth technologies and tools, enabling individuals to manage health care and receive essential services remotely.
It helps identify and diagnose common illnesses, consultations about new symptoms and chronic disease management, triage for injuries or acute illness symptoms, and mental health therapy.
Telehealth Grants – Goals
Telehealth is also referred to as m-health (mobile health) or e-health (electronic health). The grants are offered with the following goals:
- To make health care available to people living in isolated or rural communities.
- To make services or convenience readily accessible for people with mobility, time, or transportation options.
- To provide access to medical specialists.
- To improve coordination of care and communication among members of a health care team and a patient.
- To provide support for self-management of health care.
Benefits of Telehealth
Research about telehealth is still relatively new; however, it’s growing, improving quality of life. Here are some of the telehealth services for health care.
Patient Portal – A patient portal is a secure online tool that helps communicate with a doctor or a nurse. It helps request prescription refills, review test results, summarize previous visits, or schedule appointments.
Virtual Appointments – Some clinics provide virtual appointments via online videoconferencing. These appointments enable a patient to receive ongoing care when an in-person visit isn’t possible or required. Virtual appointments can be used to suggest home care strategies, prescribe medications, or recommend additional medical care.
Remote Monitoring – Various technologies enable a doctor to monitor the health of patients remotely. It includes web-based or mobile apps, devices that measure and wirelessly transmit information, wearable devices, home monitoring devices, etc. It prevents unnecessary in-person referrals to a specialist, reduces wait times, and eliminates unnecessary travel.
Personal Health Records (PHR system) – An electronic personal health record collects self-controlled and maintained health information. A PHR app is accessible via a web-enabled device, such as smartphones, computers, laptops, or tablets. In certain emergency conditions, a PHR can inform emergency personnel regarding vital information, such as current diagnoses, allergies, medications, etc.
Personal Health Apps – There are many digital tools or apps helping people better organize their medical information.
Telehealth Grants – Federal Funding
Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA)
The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy(FORHP), under the administration of HRSA, offers various funds for telehealth programs. Telehealth is necessary for rural and other remote areas as there are insufficient health care services.
The Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) offers funds to improve and promotes telehealth technologies in rural areas. It facilitates education, health care delivery, and health information services.
Check out the list of the current programs, and to learn about the latest support organized through federal efforts, visit Telehealth.HHS.gov.
Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP)
TNGP aims to improve healthcare networks and services for medically underserved populations. To be specific, the purpose is to:
- Expand and improve the quality of healthcare services and training to healthcare providers, and
- Expand the quality of health information to health care providers, patients, and families.
Currently, TNGPs are promoting the utilization of rural Tele-emergency services where 24-hour Emergency Department (ED) consultation services will be delivered via telehealth without emergency care specialists.
Evidence-Based Tele-Behavioral Health Network Program (EB THNP)
EB THNP aims to render telehealth networks to:
- Provide access to behavioral health care services in frontier and rural communities, and
- Conduct evaluations for assessing the effectiveness of tele-behavioral health care.
National Telehealth Resource Center Program (NTRC)
The NTRC supports telehealth technical assistance delivered by Regional Telehealth Resource Center Program (RTRC) recipients. NTRC focuses on:
- Providing training,
- Disseminating information and research findings,
- Supporting effective collaboration, and
- Fostering the use of telehealth technologies in rural and medically under-served areas.
Regional Telehealth Resource Center Program (RTRC)
The RTRCs are regionally located, facilitating grant activities at the local level. The aim is to offer customized telehealth technical assistance, ensuring that resources are equally distributed.
Telehealth Centers of Excellence (COE)
The COE examines the efficacy of telehealth services in urban and rural areas. It determines that medical centers provide telehealth services in medically under-served areas and are financially self-sufficient.
Telehealth Focused Rural Health Research Center Cooperative Agreement (TF RHRC)
The TF RHRC Program has two separate centers, namely, evaluation-focused and evidence-focused.
The evaluation-focused TF RHRC conducts and maintains a thorough evaluation of nationwide telehealth investments.
The evidence-focused TF RHRC conducts policy-relevant and clinically informed health services research, expanding the evidence base for rural telehealth services.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Telehealth grants are bringing a new model to behavioral health care. The mission of these grants is to alleviate challenges that led to a crisis in providing access to addiction treatment and mental health.
Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) are a sustainably financed model for care delivery.
The SAMHSA accepts CCBHC Expansion grants to encourage the use of telemedicine, expand access to services, and alleviate workforce shortages. For more information, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/
National Institute of Health (NIH)
The NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) supports technology development.
It supports the development of hardware and software telehealth studies and early-stage development of telehealth technologies.
Digital Health – Mobile Health and Telehealth program supports the development of enabling technologies, emphasizing the integration of wireless technologies.
The program includes the delivery of healthcare information digitally for monitoring health or disease status.
The emphasis is on integrating and developing mobile health technologies driven by clinical needs for wellness and daily living.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CDC develops telehealth programs in rural communities to deliver care in new ways.
CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) uses a telehealth approach to reduce healthcare barriers for rural people who face mobility or transportation.
CDC supports telehealth projects to help rural residents with chronic disease prevention, specialist care, and management programs, including:
Stroke Care and Cardiac Rehabilitation
The Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention under CDC promotes the use of telehealth to reduce stroke risk factors and heart disease in rural areas.
Telestroke services are being utilized, which use videoconferencing to connect specialists in stroke centers to health care providers in smaller hospitals with fewer resources.
The Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program funds state health departments and hospitals with telestroke capacity to reduce deaths and improve outcomes.
This program also collects information to understand the current use of telestroke services and their potential benefits.
Home-based cardiac rehab also helps rural residents overcome some barriers. It involves apps and devices allowing doctors and clinical staff to interact with patients while supervising them to exercise in their homes.
Evaluation of this program has shown that the effectiveness and safety of home-based cardiac rehab are equal to the care delivered in facilities.
Diabetes Management and Prevention
The Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) services under CDC help rural and urban people manage their diabetes.
It helps in improving health and reducing diabetes complications. It is also cost-effective or cost-saving. However, 62% of rural communities do not participate in DSMES services.
The CDCs National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) delivers an affordable, evidence-based lifestyle change program through telehealth.
The aim is to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. While evaluating the program, it was found that weight loss and participation rates were the same for telehealth and in-person participants.
It was further suggested that telehealth delivery could increase participation and access.
Vision Care for Diabetic Patients
Blindness is a major complication of diabetes. CDC funds many telehealth projects in rural areas to screen for eye disease in rural areas.
Tobacco affects the health of people living in rural areas. Telehealth programs, with the help of CDC funding, provide tobacco use cessation services.
Epilepsy benefits from regular care by a neurologist. However, a few neurology practices are found in rural areas. CDC offers Epilepsy Program that funds for telehealth interventions, reducing barriers such as transportation.
Epilepsy self-management programs include Project UPLIFT (Using Practice and Learning to Increase Favorable Thoughts) and HOBSCOTCH (Home-Based Self-management and Cognitive Training Changes Lives).
Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is an Epilepsy telementoring program supported by the Epilepsy Foundation.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
AHRQ invests in telehealth research and shared information through Effective Healthcare Program and Digital Healthcare Research Program.
The funding opportunities helped telehealth expand technological advances, broaden training availability, and improve safety, diagnosis, mentoring, and treatment opportunities for the benefit of healthcare providers and consumers.
For more information, visit https://www.ahrq.gov/topics/telehealth.html
Telehealth has revolutionized the delivery of healthcare, especially in rural areas. The aim is to meet the needs of healthcare consumers.
Telehealth grants are offered to support efforts that can significantly improve and enhance healthcare quality.
The funding programs enable increased accessibility and efficiency.
It ultimately helps overcome geographic barriers, reduces the need to travel, provides clinical support, offers various types of communication devices, and improves patient outcomes.
Thus, telehealth is an attractive tool, and its grant programs have improved the delivery of care to all population segments.