DALLAS, July 5, 2023 — The COVID-19 pandemic radically changed the way health care professionals serve their patients. 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.
As part of its longstanding commitment to ensuring equitable access to high-quality health care, the American Heart Association has launched its first individual certification — Certified Professional by the American Heart Association - Telehealth — supported by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, for health care professionals interested in demonstrating their commitment to telehealth.
“The explosion of telehealth use demonstrates a need for telehealth-centric learning to improve the standard of care,” said Andrew Watson, M.D., volunteer chair of the American Heart Association’s Telehealth Certification Development Workgroup, an American Heart Association Center for Telehealth Expert Panel member and a practicing surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “The American Heart Association’s individual telehealth certification is a way for health care professionals to ensure they are providing the highest standard of care in this evolving delivery system.”
Telehealth as a method of care delivery can potentially transform the health care system, reducing costs and increasing quality, patient focus and patient satisfaction. Evidence suggests that telehealth can make health care more effective, accessible and efficient, particularly for those who otherwise lack access to quality health care. Telehealth also can help address physician burnout by reducing clinicians’ drive times and allowing more time for direct patient care.
Telehealth services have become increasingly popular in the wake of the pandemic. Telehealth utilization has stabilized at levels 38 times higher than before the pandemic. It’s estimated that approximately $250 billion — or 20% — of all Medicare, Medicaid and commercial payer outpatient, clinic and home health spending could potentially be shifted to virtual care.
The new telehealth individual certification is available through the Association’s Professional Education Hub™. It is an offering of the American Heart Association Center for Telehealth, formerly the American Board of Telehealth. The certification aims to standardize training for health care providers in telehealth care delivery, increase skills and competencies in telehealth care delivery, and help to improve patient outcomes through the integration of telehealth.
The certification is open to licensed medical professionals who complete prerequisite telehealth education. The certification process features:
- high-quality, evidence-based online telehealth education that combines research, hands-on experiences, and best practices
- assessment delivery via live remote-proctoring, certification award and renewal via AHA platforms
- individual promotional opportunities by display of personalized certificate award and credentials, which are good for three years.
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- Spanish news release
- Telehealth | American Heart Association
- Guiding Principles for Expanding Access to Care Through Telehealth | American Heart Association
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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 Takahashi et al. An Overview of Telehealth in the Management of Cardiovascular Disease: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2022;146:e558–e568. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001107.
 Bestsennyy et al. Telehealth: A quarter-trillion-dollar post-COVID-19 reality? McKinsey & Company. July 9, 2021. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/telehealth-a-quarter-trillion-dollar-post-covid-19-reality