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American Heart Association gets $15.9M grant to develop telehealth


‘Gold-standard’ offerings include online education for physicians, other clinicians.

telehealth heart concept: © Kate3155 stock.adobe.com

© Kate3155 stock.adobe.com

A grant of $15.9 million will bolster telehealth services provided by the American Heart Association (AHA).

The Association announced its Center for Telehealth will use the money to “create gold-standard telehealth education and resources through collaboration with the telehealth community.” Offerings will include:

  • Evidence-based education about telehealth
  • Telehealth certification for health care workers
  • Solutions to improve access and clinical quality

The grant was issued by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, created from the estate of the New York City real estate developers.

“Over the past three years, a huge proportion of care has shifted to the virtual landscape as clinicians and patients search for a safe, reliable way to receive needed care,” AHA CEO Nancy Brown said in a news release. “Telehealth as a method of care delivery can potentially transform the health care system, reducing costs and increasing quality, patient focus and patient satisfaction. We are so grateful for Helmsley’s generosity and commitment. Improving access to high quality care will save more lives and continue to meet people where they are.”

The trust funds research across six program areas, including Crohn’s disease, rural health care, and Type 1 diabetes. The AHA Center for Telehealth promotes integration of telehealth into the health care system “so that where a patient lives does not dictate the type and quality of care they receive.”

Telehealth can be effective and efficient for patients while reducing physician burnout by reducing drive times and allowing more time for direct patient care, according to AHA.

The Association announced three goals to develop with the grant:

  • Improve the knowledge, skills and competency of health care professionals’ delivery of telehealth services
  • Establish and disseminate best practices and quality standards to guide telehealth integration into chronic disease management
  • Build the evidence base for telehealth integration

AHA offers its certification for physicians, various nurses, and medical and physician assistants. The online course focuses on telehealth’s CORE, or clinical, operational, regulatory and ethical concepts. Participants must pass a 175-question test that is proctored online to obtain the certification.

With the latest grant, the Helmsley Charitable Trust has contributed more than $82 million to AHA.

“We are committed to ensuring that providers have access to the latest, evidence-based resources to deliver telehealth, operationally and clinically, to improve patient outcomes,” Helmsley Charitable Trust Trustee Walter Panzirer said in the news release. He is a grandson of Leona Helmsley.

“The delivery of optimal virtual care starts with gold-standard telehealth education that advances the skills of health care professionals, and we are pleased to support the American Heart Association as a leader and trustworthy source of telehealth resources that benefit patients, health care professionals and health systems,” he said.

AHA has been publishing new research through its AHA Scientific Sessions 2023 in Philadelphia this month. Additional reporting on AHA appears in HCPLive, Managed Healthcare Executive, and Pharmacy Times, which are sister publications of Medical Economics.

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