SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the adoption of telehealth to deliver healthcare services in Hawaii is increasing. The report of findings from the 2017 Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment Project estimates that approximately fifteen percent of healthcare providers report a telehealth experience, a significant increase from less than five percent in 2014. This increase coincides with the enactment of Act 159, Session Laws of Hawaii 2014, and Act 226, Session Laws of Hawaii 2016, both of which increased telehealth adoption by adopting policies such as reimbursement parity with face-to-face visits and malpractice insurance coverage reform. However, despite this favorable policy environment, Hawaii telehealth utilization remains frustratingly low.
A continuum of issues across multiple sectors must be addressed, such as providing incentives for healthcare provider adoption, increasing patient comfort with new technology, improving health care workforce training, updating technology and telecommunications infrastructure, and promoting administrative simplification among health systems. Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to establish resources to achieve the goal of establishing Hawaii telehealth as a community standard for health care access.