Most states with CMS-backed SHIP grants are investing in telehealth, digital tools

By Aditi Pai
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State Health Innovation Plans CMS AccentureNineteen states intend to invest more in telehealth this year as they roll out innovative health care delivery services for their Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP populations. Twenty-five states have created "innovation plans" backed by grants from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CCMI). This week that analyzes the investment priorities of these 25 State Health Innovation Plans (SHIPs).

The states first received funding in 2013 to help them design and test health projects. Then, in 2014, a second wave of funding for plans was awarded to help them deploy. The 2013 funding from CMMI totaled $300 million, while in 2014, the states received another $660 million. 

All of the states in the program said they were focusing on patient-centered medical homes and lower-cost labor models, but 19 states want to expand telehealth use and 15 want to offer more patient-facing digital tools, like patient portals.

The states targeting telehealth "have a common goal of treating more patients without adding healthcare workers and facilities," Accenture explained. "Some are also focusing on improving reporting and evaluation of health data, for instance, using geographic information systems (GIS) to match resources to hotspots of chronic disease."

The 15 states that are investing in patient portals and other digital tools aim to reduce administrative costs while improving self-care. This group also wants to expand access to electronic health records and provide more information on value-based health choices.

Just 14 of the states are planning to invest in data aggregation and analytics to improve population health insights.

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