As of January 2021, Washington healthcare professionals offering telemedicine services are required to complete telemedicine training. The purpose of the requirement is to inform practitioners of telemedicine definitions, regulations, and best practices. The Washington State Telehealth Collaborative has created and made publicly available a “Washington State Telehealth Training” to ensure all health care professionals can fulfil this requirement.
Telemedicine Training Bill SB6061 FAQ
What does the state law require exactly?
State law requires all health care professionals, excluding physicians and osteopathic physicians, offering telemedicine services to complete telemedicine training, whose content is compliant with state guidelines.
Telemedicine is defined as “the delivery of health care services through the use of interactive audio and video technology, permitting real-time communication between the patient at the originating site and the provider, for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation, or treatment. “Telemedicine” includes the use of audio-only telephone, but does not include facsimile or email.” (RCW 70.41.020)
Health care professional is defined as “a person licensed, registered, or certified to provide health services.” (SB 6061) However, physicians and osteopathic physicians are excluded from the requirement.
What training options are available?
WA Health care professionals can either complete:
- A training developed internally by their own employers/institutions/hospitals etc. that covers the material laid out in the alternative training guidelines.
- The approved publically available training developed by the WA Telehealth Collaborative, or for Behavioral Health professionals, the telemedicine training by the Behavioral Health
Who is required to take the training?
Beginning January 1, 2021, all health care professionals offering telemedicine services must complete compliant telemedicine training, excluding physicians and osteopathic physicians. However, the Collaborative strongly recommends physicians complete training as well. For more guidance, please refer to your regulating body
For nurses looking for more information, the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission sent out a newsletter in December 2020 with FAQs regarding the training requirement.
Do I have to complete the training before January 1st 2021?
No, the Department of Health released an interpretive statement for SSB 6061 clarifying that health care professionals offering telemedicine prior to January 1, 2021 have until June 30, 2021 to complete the telemedicine training. Health care professionals offering telemedicine services for the first time after June 30, 2021, are required to complete telemedicine training prior to offering those services.
How will this law be enforced?
It is up to the individual professional to remain compliant with their licensing requirements. The telehealth training requirement is similar to the Suicide Prevention training passed in 2017. A certificate of completion is available for trainees who choose to complete the WA State Telehealth Training and need proof of completion for their records or employers.
What constitutes an attestation?
The bill states the health care professional shall sign and retain an attestation. For the trainings developed by the Telehealth Collaborative and the Behavioral Health Institute, the certificate at the end of the training meetings this purpose. However, every health organization/system/clinic is responsible for creating their own tracking system for their health care professionals. For systems developing their own internal, or “alternative” training, the minimum requirement is to have proof an individual attested to completing telemedicine training in the event of litigation – this can be as simple as having the trainee check a box or having a sign in sheet.
Publicly Available Telehealth Trainings
For Medical Healthcare Professionals
The Medical Healthcare Professional Telemedicine Training is hosted by the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center’s Canvas training platform. In order to access the training you will need to create a free Canvas account. The training should take approximately 30 – 45 min.
You can access the training here: https://nrtrc.catalog.instructure.com/courses/washington-state-healthcare-professional-telemedicine-training
Instructions for how to set up your NRTRC Canvas Account to access the training
0.75 CME credit is now available. In order to access the credit, please go to https://learning.comagine.org/login/index.php and follow one of the two instructions below.
For those who completed the training prior to January 1, 2021, please follow the instructions here.
For those who completed the training after January 1, 2021, please follow the instructions here.
Commonly Asked Questions
Do I need to pay a fee to access the training? No, the training is free and publicly available. You will have to create a free account with NRTRC’s Canvas platform.
Who do I contact if I have technical issues during the training? There are support features built into Canvas. If you have difficulty setting up your NRTRC Canvas account, please call the Canvas Support Hotline at (877) 246-7456.
Is this training accessible in other language and to visually impaired trainees? Yes, the training content includes an “Immersive Reader” audio feature for visually impaired trainees that can be translated into a variety of languages. Unfortunately, this feature is not available for the quizzes and post-test, but they are compatible with screen reading software. Directions on how to use the Immersive reader can be found on the landing page on the Home page of the training.
For Behavioral Healthcare Professionals
The Telehealth Collaborative and UW’s Behavioral Health Institute collaborated to create the TeleBehavioral Health 101 Training. The training is divided into a six part series, and while professionals are encouraged to complete the entire series, completion of the first session alone will meet the State telehealth training requirements. As of December 2020, only one session has been posted to the training site.
TeleBehavioral Health 101 is available in two formats: an online self-directed training, or a live interactive webinar version starting January 8 – Feb 26, 2021. Trainees do not need to complete both to meet the state requirements, please choose whichever format is best suited to your schedule.
You can access the online self-guided TeleBehavioral Health 101 training here: https://nrtrc.catalog.instructure.com/programs/telebehavioral-health-101-series
TeleBehavioral Health 101 Webinar Series Details
Register at Webinar Registration – Zoom
- Introduction to TeleBehavioral Health and Policy Overview* (webinar offered 1/8/21) – this session meets Washington State Telehealth Training requirements.
- Getting started: Facts & Myths, and Security & Privacy (webinar offered 1/22/21)
- Digital Health Do’s & Don’ts, Workflows, and Safety planning (webinar offered 1/29/21)
- Billing and Reimbursement for TeleBehavioral Health (webinar offered 2/5/21)
- Clinical Engagement over Telehealth (webinar offered 2/12/21)
- Clinical Supervision in Telehealth (webinar offered 2/26/21)
Guidance on Developing Internal or “Alternative” Telemedicine Training
Many hospitals and other health care organizations prefer to develop their own internal telemedicine training that includes their internal structures, workflows, and platforms. As long as the content listed in the Alternative Training Guidelines document are included and the institutions have a way to track who has completed the training, these internal trainings meet the requirement of the state law. Additionally, these are not restricted to digital learning management systems and can include but are not limited to: training offered by healthcare facilities, continuing education courses, or trainings developed by a health care professional board or commission.
Resources for Developing an Internal Telemedicine Training
Alternative Training Guidelines – This document outlines the minimum content that must be included in a health organization’s telemedicine training to be compliant with state law. Health organizations are welcome to add additional information to their trainings that would benefit their health care professionals.
Reference Copy of State Telemedicine Training – This document is a reference version of the WA State Telemedicine Training for organizations looking to develop their own internal trainings. If you are building out your own training, we recommend adding information relevant to your own institution and professional needs as the language and materials included in the state training are for a broad range of specialties.