March 27, 2019

Taskforce Updates

Operational Guidelines Taskforce

The operational guideline task force was commissioned in order to make sure the guidelines that governed our section were appropriate, current and enabled the section to function effectively.  After a vote was obtained in October 2018 during our annual meeting in San Diego, the operational guidelines task force was created.  A call for volunteers was made and the task force began its efforts in October 2018. 

There were various changes made including but not necessarily limited to:

  • The guidelines were amended to include a name change of the section as was also voted on by the section at large.
  • The office of Secretary/Newsletter was split into two separate positions since it was felt that each position carried a considerable amount of time commitment and work.
  • The Councilor position will be directly elected beginning in 2020. In the past, the Alternate Councilor position automatically progressed to Councilor. 
  • A mechanism to remove an officer or councilor was put in place in the event needed. Previously, there was no mechanism to do so.
  • A separate section controlled and directed budget was proposed in order to help improve efficiencies and perhaps help encourage easier fund raising and ability to provide for our section needs. Also, the creation of a Treasurer position to be involved with the new budget and appropriations process.

The above measures were written and circulated for all of our members to review and comment upon.  Contributions and suggestions were reviewed, vetted, and a final draft was made and submitted, approved by section chair and forwarded to ACEP’s Board of Directors.  Item #5 was a new request for the Board.  The chairman of the ACEP Board and I discussed the reasoning, intention and possible advantages behind the change and request and, to the Board’s credit, they agreed to put it on the Board of Director’s agenda to discuss in April 2019.  All other items listed above or made in the operational guidelines were approved by ACEP’s Board of Directors.  Amazingly, all the work necessary to get this project done including the review, the amending, the circulating to section members, discussions of possible changes and comments and the rewrites, discussions with Board members and the final submission and Board approval was accomplished within four months of our annual meeting. 

Many thanks to Dr. Aditi Joshi who, who contributed to this task force and assisted me, the many section members’ review, comments and input.  The operational guidelines are now more current and empower our section to operate in a more effective and efficient manner.

Research and Resolutions Task Force Update for the Telehealth Section Newsletter

Kori Zachrison, MD MSc

The Research and Resolutions Task Force has had a productive start to the year. In January we submitted a letter of interest for an ACEP section grant. In this letter, we proposed the development of an emergency telehealth research repository. This repository would serve as a centralized reference place for research in emergency telehealth with two distinct components: 1, a library of published literature in emergency telehealth; and 2, a database of ongoing research in the field. The database would be analogous to the NIH RePORTER tool with indexed and searchable studies and would include a mechanism to facilitate potential connections and collaborations between researchers. We look forward to hearing feedback from ACEP on this proposal.

We are also reviewing a proposed resolution put forth by two of our members. This resolution would encourage ACEP to promote telemedicine research awareness and funding opportunities and to allocate lobbying resources for promoting increased allocation of federal research funding of emergency telemedicine research. We are currently doing further background research into the existing state of funded emergency telemedicine research in order to better quantify the nature of the need and to inform the background and justification for the resolution. We welcome contributions from any section members with insight or who are otherwise interested in participating in this conversation.

Other objectives of our task force include development of a research agenda in emergency telehealth, and upon identification of gaps in the literature, strategizing and facilitating ideal next research steps to further the field. We will also be the home for any future resolution development or review that section members propose.

We will be happy to hear any input from other members of the section and look forward to a productive year ahead. 

Practice Guidelines Taskforce

Edward “Etch” Shaheen, MD, FACEP

The practice guideline task force was commissioned to help establish guidelines for the practice of emergency medicine and for all acute care encounters via Telehealth.  One of the initiatives for our section is to establish best practices for our area of interest.  After a very extensive search of established literature in the Telehealth space up to September 2016 performed by our section, a group of section members contributed to the writing of an extensive white paper.  While this white paper has not yet been officially released as we attempt to have it published, it was discovered that evidence-based literature on best practices did not exist.  In order to meet our directive of establishing guidelines as outlined in our section operational guidelines, this task force was commissioned by the section chair to develop an expert consensus opinion of practice guidelines for Telehealth.  Of course, as research is done, and quantifiable data becomes available, these guidelines could be modified, if indicated.

A call for volunteers and interested section members was made and there was a good response.  The task force had its first two calls in November and has met each month since (1st Tuesday of each month at 2:00 PM EST/1:00 PM CST). 

Our group’s efforts and contributions have already been extremely important.   The task force leader participated in ACEP’s Policy Subcommittee call and many of our Practice Guideline Task Force’s suggestions are to be included in the upcoming changes being made to ACEP’s Telehealth Policy including matters regarding recommended disclosures, consent, reimbursement, etc.  In addition, our section and particularly this task force’s efforts have been noticed.  We have been approached to participate in the first ever HRSA sponsored Tele-Emergency Summit this April to discuss the state of evidence-based knowledge for best practices in Emergency Telehealth and identify top questions that have supporting evidence; determine the research priorities for Emergency Telehealth, identify knowledge gaps and propose priority research studies to address gaps in evidence; and identify future directions of Emergency Telehealth, including: standards of practice, the use of new tools, government policy implications, developing trends and identifying opportunities that could lead to increased adoption of the Emergency Telehealth.  This could have a significant impact on the establishment of practice guidelines for Telehealth on a national basis.  We have received authorization from ACEP to accept the invitation and participate in these discussions.  This is a great opportunity for ACEP to impact Telehealth and how we will be expected to deliver Telehealth now and in the future.  Congratulations to all the members of the section and particularly the Practice Guideline Task Force who have participated, contributed and worked so hard to help make a difference.

Disaster Taskforce

Aditi Joshi, MD, MSc

Many of us have volunteered or provided our services during extraordinary times of need including during and after disasters.  Whether Hurricane Katrina, Rita, Harvey, Michael, Florence, Sandy you fill in the blank… a mass shooting, a tornado or any other natural or man-made disaster, we as emergency physicians want to help, that is what we do and who we are.  Many in our Telehealth section have expressed an interest in participating in disaster relief as a section or as members of the College.  The Disaster Task Force was commissioned to look into how telehealth could bring value to the victims of man-made and natural disasters and then develop a strategy and plan on how to implement a plan that will accomplish this goal.

The first call of our task force occurred in November 2018 and there have been monthly calls since.  The call is the first Thursday of each month at 1:00 PM EST (12:00 PM CST).  Thus far, the members of the task force were asked to reach out to their state ACEP chapters and as the inaugural task force leader, Dr. Shaheen reached out to the Disaster Section Chair in addition to state ACEP President/representative.  We were able to connect with the Disaster section chair and liaison to discuss some of the hopes and goals of our section task force and willingness to work with the Disaster Section.  In the meanwhile, we continue to gather information and data.

Currently, the task force is still trying to understand what services are currently available in disasters? What services may be lacking?  What are some of the challenges facing disaster victims and disaster responders? What opportunities are present that our section and its members might be able to bring value to?  The obvious goal would be able to assist responders and most importantly disaster victims and the communities affected by disasters.

Dr. Shaheen has led this task force since its inception and has gotten it off to a good start.  In February 2019, Dr. Shaheen turned over the leader role of the disaster task force to our section’s chair-elect, Dr. Aditi Joshi, who expressed an interest and desire to take on the lead.  She has been a member of the task force since its inception and we are confident she will do a great job.  Please join us in congratulating Aditi on her new role.

If you want to help, want to volunteer, have experience in disasters, have never been involved but want to or simply have good ideas and want to be involved, you are encouraged to contact Dr. Etch Shaheen or Dr. Aditi Joshi. 

Edward “Etch” Shaheen, MD, FACEP

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