By Ed Simcox, US Healthcare Practice Leader, Logicalis Healthcare Solutions

Probably the best advice I can give to anyone interested in implementing a telehealth solution for their organization is this: There are no shortcuts on the road to success.

One of the biggest mistakes we see people make with their telehealth implementations is that they let the technology lead their decisions. The healthcare industry is full of instances where people got grants and bought telehealth equipment that now sits in a room unused because it’s not part of the clinical workflow or the culture of the organization, it’s too cumbersome and awkward, or it’s just plain hard to use and foreign to the staff. To be successful with telehealth, you can’t put the cart before the horse so to speak; technology decisions must only be made after careful consideration is given to organizational use cases and clinical workflow.

Through our years of experience working with healthcare organizations, we’ve realized that there are nine important stages to developing a successful telehealth program:

  1. Build an effective governance model.
  2. Assemble multi-disciplinary telehealth teams.
  3. Assess the opportunities, needs and capabilities of the community and the organization.
  4. Design the telehealth program.
  5. Develop a business plan and financial model.
  6. Create a project plan.
  7. Develop both internal and external marketing plans.
  8. Identify key metrics to measure outcomes.
  9. Design a training plan for clinicians and support staff.

We have developed a white paper, “How to Design and Implement a Successful Telehealth Program,” that explores each of these steps in detail, and you can get a copy here: http://ow.ly/Ybs6f.

The bottom line is, you have to prepare your organization to accept telehealth before you implement it.  Do a gap analysis to determine why you need a telehealth solution in the first place, then look at industry best practices that can be applied to fill that gap. Examine how the solution will integrate into your existing clinical workflows, and determine how you will get clinicians and patients alike to use the service once it exists. Then, and only then, is it time to start talking about the technology.

Want to learn more? Find out why we think America’s young will drive telehealth adoption, visit Logicalis’ dedicated healthcare web site to learn more about telehealth, and read some of our latest healthcare-related press releases. You can also schedule a meeting with us to talk about your own telehealth strategy.