Today, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® introduced a new set of industry-created, voluntary principles for virtual care. The recommendations to address and advance the use of virtual care tools – such as telemedicine, remote patient monitoring and real-time communication between patients and clinicians – follow the Centers for Disease Control (Feb. 29, 2020) call for the increased use of telehealth to evaluate, triage and care for patients in the fight against pandemic outbreaks.
The CTA Guiding Principles on Virtual Care were created and reviewed by about ten CTA member companies including 98point6, BioIntelliSense, Doctor On Demand, Livongo and Validic. As virtual care tools continue to grow in both number and capabilities, there is a need for transparent and consensus-based principles to better guide developers, providers and patients.
While the guidelines were not created with the current pandemic in mind, for the health care system to deal with clinician shortages, an aging population, the persistence of chronic diseases and health inequities, technology-enabled solutions like virtual care are vital.
“As the health care industry expands how people engage with health care services, there’s never been a more urgent need for innovative tech solutions,” said René Quashie, VP of digital health, CTA. “Transparent and consensus-based deployment of virtual care tools will help us realize the long list of benefits – increased accessibility, improved quality of care and ultimately, better health outcomes for everyone, no matter where you live.”
“The CTA’s virtual care principles give health care companies the necessary recommendations to protect consumer trust and improve virtual care. This is important for both individual companies and the industry, especially during public health emergencies and natural disasters,” said Ross Friedberg, chief legal & business affairs officer, Doctor On Demand and board member of CTA’s Health and Fitness Technology Division. “Consumers are open to the benefits of virtual primary care, which include removing the barriers to access that exist today and improving patient care. At Doctor On Demand, we believe there is an enormous opportunity to strengthen health care by connecting consumers to virtual primary care.”
“With 147 million Americans living with chronic conditions today, and these conditions accounting for 90 percent of United States healthcare costs, it is more important than ever to offer consumer-first solutions that make it easier for people to stay healthy,” said Livongo Chief Product Officer Amar Kendale. “In partnership with the CTA, Livongo is proud to take a leadership role ensuring that virtual health and care solutions provide the best possible experience while delivering key health outcomes and protecting the privacy of health consumers.”
The virtual care principles offer core guidelines and practices across patient engagement, standards of care, quality, continuity of care, prescribing and privacy and security. A selection of the 16 total core principles include, but are not limited to:
- Design the virtual care tool to allow for universal access, and to allow users to ask questions about appropriate use and functionality;
- Virtual care tool developers should inform users of potential benefits and risk associated with using the virtual care tool based on input from appropriate healthcare professionals and review of current research;
- Patient engagement should not interrupt or inhibit a total care plan;
- Ensure consumers have access to their data.
The CTA guidelines join other industry-led guidelines including the Guiding Principles for the Privacy of Personal Health and Wellness Information and CTA/HRS Guidance for Wearable Health Solutions.
The CTA Guiding Principles on Virtual Care are voluntary, based on virtual care concepts currently present and developing in U.S. law and offered to complement, not supplant, the applicable legal requirements and regimes with which companies need to comply.
To see the CTA Guiding Principles on Virtual Care, visit CTA.tech.
Consumer Technology Association:
As North America’s largest technology trade association, CTA® is the tech sector. Our members are the world’s leading innovators – from startups to global brands – helping support more than 18 million American jobs. CTA owns and produces CES® – the largest, most influential tech event on the planet. Find us at CTA.tech. Follow us @CTAtech.