The Joint Commission to Launch Telehealth Accreditation Program

April 23, 2024
Goal is to offer telehealth service providers with the structures and processes to help deliver high-quality care using a telehealth platform

The Joint Commission is launching a Telehealth Accreditation Program for eligible hospitals, ambulatory and behavioral healthcare organizations, effective July 1. 

The organization said the accreditation program provides updated, streamlined standards to provide organizations offering telehealth services with the structures and processes necessary to help deliver safe, high-quality care using a telehealth platform.
 
The Telehealth Accreditation Program was developed for healthcare organizations that exclusively provide care, treatment and services via telehealth. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations that have written agreements in place to provide care, treatment and services via telehealth to another organization’s patients have the option to apply for the new accreditation.
 
The Telehealth Accreditation Program’s requirements include information management, leadership, medication management, patient identification, documentation, and credentialing and privileging. 

Requirements specific to the new accreditation program include:
• Streamlined emergency management requirements to address providing care and clinical support remotely rather than in a physical building.
• New standards for telehealth provider education and patient education about the use of telehealth platforms and devices.
• New standards chapter focused on telehealth equipment, devices and connectivity.
 
Additionally, the program’s standards may be filtered based on the telehealth modality or service provided.
 
“The use of telehealth in the United States increased 154 percent during early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and stabilized at levels 38 times higher than levels in 2019. As telehealth continues to evolve, it was imperative to create a new accreditation program to provide a framework to support the integrity of patient safety regardless of the care setting,” said Jonathan B. Perlin, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, The Joint Commission enterprise, in a statement. “Our new Telehealth Accreditation Program helps organizations standardize care and reduce risk so that all patients, including those obtaining services remotely, receive the safest, highest-quality care with outcomes consistent with traditional settings.”
 
The Telehealth Accreditation Program will replace the current telehealth and technology-based accreditation products in The Joint Commission’s Ambulatory Health Care and Behavioral Health Care and Human Services Accreditation Programs for organizations that meet the eligibility criteria.

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