Continua Health Alliance advocates eCare use at House subcommittee meeting

BEAVERTON, Ore. The Continua Health Alliance last week testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health regarding the use of personal connected healthcare technologies to increase veteran access to quality health care.

Rick Cnossen, Continua president and chairman, advocated the use of eCare -- a class of health information technologies that can facilitate any kind of virtual visit or electronic connectivity outside of traditional office visits -- and personal connected healthcare devices that can provide lower-cost access to quality care.

“We are excited about Continua’s efforts to remove geographical barriers and provide efficient and affordable access to health care for veterans,” Cnossen said. “Personal connected health care offers many beneficial clinical capabilities, such as the ability to track vital signs and other important health data that can be shared with healthcare providers through secure systems on a regular basis, ultimately increasing the likelihood of catching health changes early and preventing illness. These are not currently available to the majority of rural-area veterans."

Continua has made progress in the development of interoperable healthcare devices and services, but there still are barriers to integrating eCare into care plans, Cnossen noted. To ensure veterans and clinicians will receive full access to optimum health care, Continua recommended the House Committee on Veterans Affairs establish a federal organization focused on eCare, develop eCare payment reform, create blueprints for the use of eCare in states and communities, incorporate eCare as part of “meaningful use,” and make home broadband adoption for all Americans a top priority following recommendations in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. If they are implemented, the Alliance’s recommendations will help guide the transition and adoption of eCare, making it available to U.S. veterans.

Continua Health Alliance is working to implement a system of care that enables personal connected health with an in-home or mobile broadband device that assists providers in tracking and trending healthcare data. The alliance seeks to help the nation harness the benefits of this technology to allow healthcare consumers and providers to use real-world, remotely collected data to make more informed healthcare decisions on a continual basis. This model helps empower individuals in their care, and allows caregivers to intervene as needed for more effective and efficient care.