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5 Steps for Developing a Telehealth Program

Developing a telehealth program at your organization can be costly, time consuming and challenging. Follow these five steps to starting a telehealth program.

Step 1: Develop preliminary goals and objectives for service delivery

Measurable goals and objectives will assist in every facet of designing and developing your program from selecting equipment to staffing and cost estimates. Be sure to prioritize your telehealth service options and be mindful of the size and scale of the program you are building.

Step 2: Select the delivery model that best suits your service goals and objectives

There are various types of telehealth. Choosing the right model for your organization is crucial to your success. The model you choose should provide high quality care, structured and layered training and service patients on an ongoing basis before on site and online. Most importantly, your model needs to be in line with your organization's vision and mission.

Step 3: Plan to incorporate Health Information Technology (HIT)

Healthcare organizations are implementing electronic medical records (EMRs) or other types of HIT at a rapid rate. Your telehealth system should be designed and structured to support health information exchange.

Step 4: Grow your champions

Champions must be true agents of change within your organization and in positions to garner top level organization attention to obtain financial, technical, personnel and other resources. They must be inspirational figures, who play a key role in creating a professional and nurturing environment in which additional champions will be encouraged and develop.

Step 5: Know your geographical area

Service expectations can be quite different in different regions, as can medical services purchasing power, reimbursement options and access to other non-telehealth caregivers.

Best advice- go visit! Taking the time to visit your remote sites, meet your colleagues, and learn about their lives, patients, local opportunities, challenges and concerns is important to the success of your telehealth program.