Reliability of telemedicine visits for recertification of hospice patients
Telemedicine offers the potential to increase hospice care provider productivity and to reduce the cost of care delivery without compromising the quality of care. Federal regulations for Medicare require that a licensed provider recertify that a patient is eligible to continue receiving hospice services after the first six months (180 days), and then again every two months (60 days) after that. These recertification visits happen in person (“face to face”), and take place in addition to regular hospice care. The mHealth Impact Lab has partnered with TRU Community Care, a Colorado-licensed, Medicare and Medicaid-certified, nonprofit health care organization serving the greater Boulder, Broomfield, Adams, Jefferson, and Weld Counties, to conduct a quality improvement study to evaluate the feasibility of conducting hospice reauthorization visits via telemedicine. This study has two specific aims: first, to assess the reliability of clinical decision making about hospice care recertification between visits conducted in person and visits conducted by telemedicine, and second, to assess patient, caregiver, and provider acceptance of technology when used to conduct hospice reauthorization visits by telemedicine. This project is anticipated to complete before the end of 2019, and will involve up to 200 in-person and video visits with hospice patients and their caregivers.