Need Another Accreditation? How About Telehealth?

We’ve written about the emergence of telehealth services for the past several years. As then, we continue to see positive uptake, albeit much slower than some pundits expected.

Specialty pharmacies have ramped up patient outreach recognizing that more contact directly correlates with better outcomes, avoided adverse events, and better compliance and persistence. Telehealth is one of the methods that continues to show promise as it is applicable to just about any disease / condition under the specialty pharmacy umbrella.

A recent press release caught our eye as it bolsters the notion that telehealth is getting ready for prime time. As described, the Specialty Pharmacy Alliance (HOSP) has worked out a deal for their members to obtain URAC accreditation in Telehealth….. yes, another tutti-fruity accreditation flavor. As SPs search for ways to differentiate themselves adding yet another accreditation is one way to strut one’s stuff.

But, not all pundits are so bullish on telehealth. Doug Long, Vice President, Industry Relations, IQVIA, shared some thoughts on the subject at the recent Asembia conference. He stated that the pandemic did drive telehealth usage and that a recent poll showed that more than 1 in 8 Americans engaged in a video consult with a health care professional in recent months.

However, he suggested that the pandemic and the related shift to telehealth had mixed results on the specialty pharmacy market with telehealth reaching only 15% of patients and that the pace has stalled as the pandemic effects have subsided. One reason he suggests is that telehealth platforms don’t have access to the labs and the vitals and things that make doctors comfortable with prescribing new therapies. Long did cite that telehealth is going gang busters in the mental health patient management segment.

URAC-HOSP Partnership to Focus on Specialty Pharmacy, Telehealth Accreditation

By SPC News Staff
A new partnership between Health System Owned Specialty Pharmacy Alliance (HOSP) and the accreditor URAC will make specialty pharmacy and telehealth accreditations more affordable for HOSP members while fostering collaboration between the organizations.

The partnership, announced during the AXS22/ Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit, will broaden the scope of benefits for HOSP members and allow the two organizations to work together on accreditation and certification measures, HOSP Board Chairman Gary Kerr, PharmD, told Specialty Pharmacy Continuum.

“We aim to educate our members and provide them with the tools they need as well as find new ways to work with partners like URAC in the integrated specialty pharmacy ecosystem,” Dr. Kerr said. “Education and collaboration around accreditation also support the HOSP mission to share common experiences and knowledge with industry partners, so we can grow and find timely solutions to our challenges together.”

As telehealth use increases in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth accreditation continues to evolve as well.

“This increase in utilization applies to how pharmacies manage patients and medication adherence during the pandemic,” Jeffrey Carr, URAC’s vice president, business development, said in an email. “URAC does not want price to be a barrier to improving quality. Our partnership allows HOSP members a more affordable option to pursue new pharmacy and telehealth accreditations.”

HOSP is a nonprofit coalition of major health systems focused on integrated specialty pharmacy best practices and advocacy.

“We select partners who align with our commitment and efforts to strengthen patient care through the integrated specialty pharmacy model,” Dr. Kerr said. “Our partners understand the value and importance of collaboration in the advancements in research, advocacy and education that are required to advance the quality of care to patients.”


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