Pathways to Prevention (P2P) Program

Marcia M. Ward, Ph.D.

Marcia M. Ward

University of Iowa
Professor, Health Management and Policy

Presentation Abstract

Methodological Considerations for Studies of Provider-to-Provider Telehealth in Rural Emergency Departments

There are a fair number of published studies of provider-to-provider telehealth in rural emergency departments (EDs). One category focuses on specific patient populations such as stroke symptoms, trauma/injury, or behavioral health. The other category focuses on the general patient population presenting to rural EDs. One characteristic that almost all these studies have is that they examine processes and outcomes in a single teleED network.

We have had the opportunity to serve as a data coordinating center for five HRSA-funded telehealth implementation grants. The first one of those involved six teleED networks serving 65 hospitals across 11 states. We identified a set of data elements and the six teleED networks collected data on all teleED patients across 26 months. Looking across different networks of providers increases generalizability, but also permits examination of sources of heterogeneity. Thus, having the opportunity to address research questions across telehealth networks has been a particular opportunity in our research.

Telehealth programs differ greatly in how they are designed to meet the needs of the rural patients and providers they serve. Consequently, we should not expect that research findings from one telehealth program will apply to others that are designed to meet different needs and populations.

Our current research focuses on figuring out how to identify measures and data elements that can work across diverse networks and meet the practical challenges of what data are available within a telehealth network to build on the conceptual and practical strengths of varied telehealth programs.

About Dr. Ward

Dr. Marcia M. Ward is a Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy, in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa. She is Director of the Center for Health Policy and Research. She has directed the Rural Telehealth Research Center since it was first funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in 2015. She is currently co-chairing the National Quality Forum (NQF) Telehealth and Rural Health System Readiness Workgroup. Her research focuses on rural telehealth, rural health services research, and patient care quality in critical access hospitals. Dr. Ward has extensive experience directing research teams and conducting evaluations of health care implementation and quality improvement projects.   

Dr. Ward disclosed the following conflict of interest for this workshop: The research center she directs has received grants from Avera eCARE.

« Back to Workshop Agenda

Last updated on