AARC Supports Pediatric Telehealth

You hear a lot these days about telehealth and how respiratory therapists can play a big role in telehealth initiatives involving people with chronic respiratory conditions like COPD.

But COPD patients aren’t the only ones who can benefit from RT telehealth, and the Association is taking steps to ensure every patient with respiratory needs has access as well.

That was in full evidence last year when the AARC threw its support behind new Operating Procedures for Pediatric Telehealth drafted by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

“Telehealth services are an integral part of the health care delivery system today and continue to gain recognition in improving outcomes and reducing costs,” wrote AARC President Brian K. Walsh, PhD, RRT, RRT-NPS, RRT-ACCS, AE-C, RPFT, FAARC, in the AARC’s official endorsement letter. “Children of all ages offer unique health care challenges, and it is important to recognize the need for thoughtful guidelines to ensure the protection and safety of this vulnerable population. As drafted, the procedures are comprehensive, well written, and address the major goals needed to ensure safe, appropriate and quality telehealth services to this special group.”

The Association was particularly pleased to see the ATA urge telehealth providers to incorporate the guidelines, position statements, and recommendations from professional organizations like the AARC into their initiatives. The AARC has a number of resources designed especially for pediatric patients and believes they can play an integral role in any pediatric telehealth initiative involving respiratory care.

The Provider Considerations section of the ATA document notes scope of practice, licensure, credentialing, practice guidelines, and guidance from specialty societies are important when assigning telehealth responsibilities to clinicians, and the AARC applauded these safeguards as well.

“The AARC strongly recommends patients with respiratory disease receive the highest quality care in a timely and professional manner,” wrote Dr. Walsh. “Respiratory therapists are licensed, trained, tested and credentialed professionals.”

Telehealth has the potential to dramatically alter the health care landscape, and the AARC will continue to support efforts to ensure the new jobs that open up in this setting will be readily available to RTs who work with adults and children alike.