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Step 1 for Telehealth Success: Assess and Define Your Program - IMST Telehealth Consulting
Creating successful value focused telehealth programs that improve quality, outcomes & costs.
IMST Telehealth Consulting, Telehealth program development, remote patient monitoring, direct to consumer telehealth, telehealth best practices, Certified Telehealth Liaison
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Step 1 for Telehealth Success: Assess and Define Your Program

Telehealth is a new and exciting field.  There are many changes in the industry as the clinical, regulatory, and reimbursement standards evolve.  

The technological capabilities are constantly improving as more use cases are discovered across the healthcare continuum.   Telehealth programs are not “one size fits all.” We’ll help you build harmony among the administration, clinical, and information technology stakeholders and develop a unified vision for the program.  In addition, learning about your community’s specific needs will help establish a solid foundation to guide your choices about which program model to deploy.



The first thing we’ll do is assess your organization’s degree of telehealth readiness.  Readiness assessment is a critical first step to ensuring your program will be fully adopted and utilized. The importance of a readiness assessment cannot be overemphasized.  When organizations fail to ensure their organization is ready for telehealth before obtaining technology, they typically waste their valuable resources.  We’ll work with you by conducting surveys, focus groups, and site visits with administrative, clinical, and technological stakeholders to collect all the data.


The domains we consider include:


  • Organizational readiness (i.e. planning, engagement, and buy-in)
  • Regulatory and policy requirements
  • Finance/reimbursement
  • Technology infrastructure, planning, and testing
  • Delivering clinical services
  • Workforce development  


Our surveys have a built-in scoring system to determine your degree of readiness.  Focus groups reveal whether ot not there is a strong willingness and ability to undergo a paradigm shift in operations across the organization.  If  your organization isn’t quite ready to adopt a telehealth program, we’ll work with your team to strengthen their capacity.



The next step is to determine your community’s health needs.  These needs are defined by:


  • Socioeconomic and demographic factors
  • Health status
  • Current and desired service availability
  • Geographic barriers
  • Referral patterns
  • Administrative and educational events
  • Payer mix in your organization


A needs assessment provides many benefits, including:


  • Clear understanding of your community’s needs
  • Foundation for program development
  • Clear objectives and shared expectations among your internal and external stakeholders
  • Improved service coordination
  • Rational resource allocation
  • A means to evaluate program performance
  • Information for developing a market analysis
  • Business plan for your telehealth program



Once you clearly understand your organizational and clinical needs, the next step is to define your telehealth program model.  This includes deciding on a clinical discipline to begin a pilot program, or if you want to limit telehealth to one service, limited sites, etc.  Depending on the results of your needs assessment, we’ll help you determine whether to provide:


  • Real-time video conferencing
  • Store and forward consults
  • Remote patient monitoring
  • A combination of these models



The final deliverable of the Assess and Define Phase is a detailed business case which combines all of the research findings with the assumptions, constraints, and opportunities that will arise from your telehealth services, along with high-level cost estimates of the program.


Once the research is complete,  you’ll have enough evidence to develop a detailed business case that includes:


  • Assessment data
  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats),
  • Cost estimates
  • SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely)
  • Market analysis


It can be difficult to gain buy-in from key stakeholders when integrating new technologies.  Having the right conversations with team members before proceeding with your program provides an opportunity for everyone to make informed decisions about their level of support for the project.


The Assess and Define phase is important, because it will allow you and your team to develop a clear understanding of the clinical, technological, and administrative requirements necessary to develop a telehealth program that will maximize the benefits of your community and your organization.  At the end of this phase, you will be armed with all the information you need to develop a detailed business plan for moving your telehealth initiative forward.


When you have buy-in across your organization and a defined scope for your services, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief, because a common vision for your program and a strong business case to earn the support of your internal and external stakeholders will be established.  Once you’re armed with a defined program model and requirements for your program, you’ll have the confidence to move on to phase 2, Develop and Plan the exact program you need.  Our relationships with many of the best technology providers in the business, allow us to make sure you get exactly what you need to succeed, without being oversold.

Heather Zumpano About the author

Heather is a patient advocate and telehealth ambassador, with a vision to make a positive social impact on health quality through technology. She’s an experienced clinician, and the Co-founder and Project Director of IMST Telehealth Consulting, LLC. Heather’s work in diverse clinical settings fostered a deep awareness of opportunities for improvement in health delivery systems. She has experience leading successful projects in business and health care. She enjoys business development, marketing, finance, research, and managing project teams. The company specializes in end-to-end telehealth program development, from assessment, to identifying a solution, and creating market awareness. IMST Telehealth Consulting, LLC helps its clients increase access to quality health care, reduce costs, and increase revenues. Heather holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance from the University South Florida, Tampa. She also earned a Master of Science in Health Informatics from Walden University, Minneapolis, MN. Heather is a member of the Florida Telehealth Work Group, the American Telemedicine Association, and the Pinellas County chapter of Better Living for Seniors.

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