In an industry’s rush to provide timely telehealth services to the public, from nurse advice lines to comprehensive virtual clinics, factors like proven protocols and best practices can fall from the top of the priority list. After all, demand for virtual care grew quickly during this challenging COVID-19 pandemic.
But it’s also important that health plans, health systems and provider practices pause for a moment to ensure they have taken steps to protect both their members and patients, as well as their organizations, from unnecessary risk.
A good starting point is to ensure all telehealth partners have been vetted by comprehensive third-party accreditation and certification organizations.
Accreditation provides quality assurance
Not all telehealth companies have the same quality assurances, and that’s where accreditations can shine a light on processes and procedures that aren’t always easily visible at first glance. For example: Do a telehealth company’s nurses meet certain criteria for expertise and experience? Are there software and security measures in place that properly safeguard patient and client data? Accreditations and certifications can help take the guesswork out of those kinds of questions and offer evidence that high standards of telehealth care are consistently being met.
At Carenet Health, certifications help our clients understand our commitment to ongoing excellence, says Celeste Roman, director of compliance and quality—from maintaining high clinical support standards to ensuring our professionals on the virtual frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic are well-trained.
“Our official processes and policies that we’ve put in place for accreditation reviews are a standard part of our operations. They are also critical to high telehealth patient satisfaction, even during the current COVID-19 crisis,” Roman says.
Get to know these telehealth-related certifications
These four reputable accreditations are must-haves when choosing a telehealth provider:
- The URAC Health Call Center Full Accreditation indicates a telehealth provider meets highly detailed CORE standards for aspects of call center care, including clinical staff credentials, information-sharing, feedback to physicians and telephone performance. URAC-accredited health call centers ensure triage call handling and nurse training meet high care standards, and that tech protocols for information sharing and HIPAA compliance are on point.
- The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) offers a Health Information Product Certification for recognizing healthcare organizations that maintain definitive standards and practices for nurse advice lines and other products that are in sync with quality requirements. As one of just 20 organizations with NCQA Health Information Product Certification, Carenet has earned a reputation for its telehealth call center services—including recognition for providing first-rate nurse advice line support.
- Organizations achieving the HITRUST CSF© Certified Status meet crucial healthcare regulations regarding the protection of sensitive patient data. Clients, partners and patients of telehealth providers with this designation can feel confident knowing the information security requirements are always respected and secure during a telehealth interaction.
- The Type 2 SOC 2+ HITRUST Certification helps ensure telehealth providers meet or exceed third-party reporting needs, maintain internal controls that are appropriately mapped for SOC reporting and identify various risks associated with securing sensitive information, including PHI (personal health information).
Accreditations help foster trust in telehealth services. For Carenet, our awards and certifications aren’t just badges of credibility; Carenet’s external certifications help define and elevate our telehealth operations as well as those of our healthcare industry partners.
As your healthcare organization seeks to provide accountable, high-quality telehealth nursing and virtual care, make certain your telehealth partner is consistently demonstrating a commitment to quality through trustworthy, verifiable industry certifications.