Clinical to Community Connections


There are many opportunities to leverage telehealth and telemedicine to increase access to preventive and specialty care, address health disparities affecting vulnerable populations, and save costs. For rural and underserved areas in particular, telehealth can reduce transportation barriers and address workforce shortages due to shared health professional staffing. State and territorial public health agencies (S/THAs) can be leaders or partners in initiatives that promote telehealth. Given S/THA interest and needs on telehealth, ASTHO’s Center for Population Health Strategies has supported several activities including direct technical assistance to states, developing resources, and hosting public webinars. Available resources are described below.

Telehealth Survey:

ASTHO Telehealth Capacity Survey

ASTHO presented the Telehealth Capacity Survey at the American Public Health Association Conference in November 2019. The ASTHO Telehealth Capacity Survey assesses the current landscape of telehealth activities, priorities, and technical assistance needs within state and territorial health agencies (S/THAs) and in partnership with other agencies or stakeholders.

ASTHO published an article in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice on Telehealth: An Opportunity for State and Territorial Health Agencies to Improve Access to Needed Health Services. This article describes how state and territorial health agencies engage in telehealth to expand the delivery of healthcare services and public health programs.

Written Resources:

Telehealth Resources

ASTHO developed this resource for the Puerto Rico Department of Health to address expanding telehealth services in response to the opioid crisis. This resource highlights telehealth, telemedicine, and telecommunication policies and strategies, and is available in both English and Spanish.

How to Choose Telehealth Technologies

Telehealth technologies provide an opportunity for state and territorial health agencies to expand access to public health programs. When considering telehealth technologies, there are many factors for health agencies to consider. This resource provides an overview the most common types of telehealth technologies and provides examples from public health programs.

Guide for Implementing a Telehealth Program

What public health problem are you attempting to address and how can telehealth technology help you do it? This ASTHOBrief helps state and territorial health agencies assess, define, plan, and implement new telehealth programs.

Using Telebehavioral Health to Increase Access to Care for Rural and Vulnerable Populations Amid COVID-19

This brief outlines recent federal and state policy amid the COVID-19 public health emergency that has expanded access to telebehavioral health and tele-SUD treatment. The brief summarizes federal and state policies and offers considerations for state and territorial health agencies.

Using Telehealth to Reduce Healthcare Worker and Patient Exposure – Considerations for State and Territorial Health Leaders

ASTHO's issue brief provides a high-level summary of federal telehealth flexibilities to address the COVID-19 public health emergency. The brief provides examples of related state policies, relevant considerations for adoption, and key resources.

States Leverage Telehealth to Respond to COVID-19

This blog post highlights federal and state policy trends in telehealth to address the COVID-19 public health emergency. The blog provides examples of the types of policies that states are using to expand access to telehealth, reduce barriers, and improve consumer awareness.

Telehealth Resource Guide

The ASTHO Telehealth Resource Guide summarizes resources available for state and territorial health officials and their staff as they look for innovative ways to increase access to care for vulnerable populations and improve population health. In addition to describing key issues and resources, the guide highlights telehealth programs in ten states to demonstrate the variety and range of ways that states are coordinating and leveraging telehealth. This guide was developed by ASTHO with support from the Health Resources & Services Administration and updated in 2017. The 2016 version is also available.

Using Telehealth to Improve Maternal and Child Health Outcomes in GA

This Georgia state story describes how the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Office of Telehealth and Telemedicine partnered with county health departments to successfully implement a telehealth network in all 159 counties in the state. The telehealth and telemedicine programs aim to improve access to healthcare services, address workforce shortages, and reduce health disparities across Georgia.

Utah Promotes Prevention and Improved Access to Care through Online Continuing Education and Telemedicine Initiatives

This “Have You Shared” story describes how the Utah Department of Health is using online continuing education to coach providers on evidence-based prevention and promotion strategies for diabetes and other chronic conditions. In addition, Utah is advancing policies that support telemedicine and providing funding to support infrastructure to increase access to care and reduce healthcare disparities.

Medicaid-Public Health Resource Library

The Medicaid-Public Health Library provides examples of approaches that Medicaid and public health agencies have leveraged in partnership to address mutual health goals. The library includes multiple resources related to telehealth from state and territorial health agencies, state Medicaid agencies, and other external organizations.


Tackling Inequities in Digital Care

April 12, 2021

This webinar discusses state and community-level interventions to bridge the digital divide in healthcare and improve access to digital services for marginalized communities. A panel of expert speakers emphasized the importance of providing services to older adult populations that improve digital literacy, while providing support to keep them socially connected by using other older adults as community mentors and guides. The session also discussed how states can partner with communities to coordinate and build platforms that increase access to telehealth, digital devices, and digital literacy training programs, and maximize federal investments to expand digital access.

The Montana Telehealth Learning Community: Lessons Learned from Telehealth Summits and Applicability to Other Rural States

Nov. 17, 2020

This presentation is a summary of lessons learned resulting from the Montana Telehealth Learning Community, a collaborative effort between the Montana Department of Health, HRSA Office of Regional Offices, and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO).

This collaborative effort resulted in two state-wide telehealth summits and three ongoing workgroups to address key telehealth challenges in a rural/frontier state and highlight possible applications to advance telehealth in other rural states. | Webinar slides

Use of Telehealth for Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Maternal and Child Populations

Feb. 6, 2020

The fourth virtual learning session for the PRISM Learning Community was on the use of telehealth to improve access to substance use disorder treatment, including medically assisted treatment, in maternal and child populations.

Telehealth Learning Community Cross-State Webinar

Dec. 19, 2019

This ASTHOConnects webinar provides an overview of the current national telehealth policy landscape featuring Mei Kwong, Executive Director of the Center for Connected Health Policy. Emerging telehealth issues discussed included telehealth reimbursement across payers, telehealth legislation, and other hot topics. Also featured are state speakers from the ASTHO Telehealth Learning Community including speakers from Florida, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and Montana.

The Intersection of Workforce Incentive Programs and Telehealth Policy

July 18, 2018

The Intersection of Workforce Incentive Programs and Telehealth Policy webinar featured Kathy Wibberly, PhD and Keisha L. Smith, MPA, who discussed how telemedicine policy impacts workforce incentive programs. The presentation covered interstate licensure laws and compacts, summarized NHSC policies related to acceptable telehealth technologies, and distinguished the challenges and opportunities for telehealth in addressing rural workforce needs. The development of this webinar was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and hosted by the National Organization of State & Rural Health Offices (NOSORH). | Webinar slides

Improving License Portability through Interstate Licensure Compacts – An Interstate Approach to Improving Access to Care and Addressing Workforce Gaps

Aug. 23, 2017

ASTHO, with the support of the Health Resources & Services Administration, held a webinar in August 2017 on the use of interstate compacts as one method states can undertake to address access to care issues and workforce gaps through the use of telemedicine, particularly for patients in underserved or rural areas. The webinar featured an overview of two interstate compacts: Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact.

Use of Telepsychiatry to Improve Access to Care for Rural Populations: State Considerations for Incorporating Telepsychiatry into Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integrated Systems

Aug. 7, 2017

ASTHO, with the support of the Health Resources & Services Administration, held a webinar in August 2017 on the use of telepsychiatry to improve access to behavioral health care for rural populations. The webinar featured an overview of telepsychiatry programs' regulatory, programmatic and technical considerations, as well as presentations from two speakers from North Carolina and Washington about their state's telepsychiatry program.

Using Project ECHO to Increase Access to Specialty Care: Strategies for States and Lessons Learned from Oklahoma

July 26, 2017

ASTHO, with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, held a webinar in June 2017 on Project ECHO. Project ECHO is a guided practice model for medical education to increase workforce capacity and access to high quality specialty care and reduce health disparities. ASTHO, in partnership with the Center for Connected Health Policy, worked with four states to support and advance their telehealth efforts to improve population health. This webinar is part of this collaboration and related technical assistance activities.

Provider and Patient Engagement in Telehealth

May 24, 2017

ASTHO, with the support of CDC, hosted a webinar devoted to sharing strategies for engaging patients and providers using telehealth. This webinar featured Mei Wa Kwong, Policy Advisory and Project Director at the Center for Connected Health Policy. The webinar described the 1) Importance of provider and consumer support for a telehealth program to succeed; 2) Current efforts to engage and educate providers and consumers in the use of telehealth; and 3) Strategies attendees can employ to engage their providers and patients.

Telehealth Program Development and Policy

April 21, 2017

ASTHO, with the support of CDC, hosted a webinar devoted to telehealth program development and policies. This webinar featured Mei Wa Kwong, Policy Advisory and Project Director at the Center for Connected Health Policy. With the rapid diffusion of health information technology, wider expansion of current telehealth programs is possible. Many opportunities exist to leverage telehealth to increase access to preventative and specialty care and address health disparities affecting vulnerable populations, while also saving costs. This webinar presentation: 1) Provided a foundation for telehealth program development by describing telehealth modalities and relevant state and federal laws and regulations; 2) Described the steps necessary to develop a telehealth program, from design to implementation; and 3) Shared resources to support healthcare providers and public health agencies develop telehealth programs.

Lessons Learned from States Using Telehealth to Expand Access to Care for Rural and Underserved Communities

Aug. 25, 2016

Given significant barriers to accessing care for rural and underserved populations, states are interested in innovative strategies for health promotion and care delivery, such as telehealth. Telehealth can be used to provide appropriate and timely services, ranging from health prevention and primary care to specialty services. ASTHO partnered with HRSA to host this webinar to describe the policy framework necessary for public health agencies to support telehealth programs and also highlight two examples of current and emerging telehealth initiatives in Hawaii and Alaska.

Additional Resources

HRSA Telehealth Program 
HRSA’s Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) promotes the use of telehealth technologies for health care delivery, education, and health information services. OAT provides information on funding opportunities, workforce licensure, and 12 HRSA-supported telehealth resource centers.

Center for Connected Health Policy 
The Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to maximize telehealth’s ability to improve health outcomes, care delivery, and cost effectiveness. CCHP tracks telehealth policies for all 50 states and develops other research and resources related to telehealth. Further, CCHP serves as the federally designated National Telehealth Policy Resource Center.

National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers 
Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs) have been established to provide assistance, education, and information to organizations and individuals who are actively providing or interested in providing health care at a distance. TRCs are funded by the HRSA Office for Advancement of Telehealth is to assist in expanding the availability of health care to underserved populations. They generally provide technical assistance free of charge to health agencies, providers, organizations, and others in their regions.

American Telemedicine Association 
The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) is a non-profit association based in Washington, DC with a membership network of more than 10,000 industry leaders and healthcare professionals.  ATA is the primary telehealth association in the nation and provides resources, events, and other information to its members and the public.


If you have any questions about ASTHO's telehealth portfolio, or any additional ad hoc technical assistance questions and requests related to telehealth and population health, please email ASTHO at