Telehealth Knowledge is a Worthwhile Investment
There’s conflicting feedback in the literature and the healthcare industry about whether or not telehealth effectively meets its intended goals of increased efficiency, better population health outcomes, and reduced healthcare spending. The truth is, there is a direct relationship between obtaining knowledge and a planned approach to program development, and long-term success. Many organizations begin their programs with investigating technology options. In many cases, decision makers contact a technology vendor and get “shiny new toy” syndrome. They are fascinated by the capabilities of the digital scopes, cameras and robots, so they buy it before they make a plan for how the tools can maximize their operations and increase access to care.
I can’t blame anyone for this, I agree the technology is awesome! However, this is a clear case of putting the cart before the horse and the leading reason why many telehealth programs are unsustainable. Unfortunately, by beginning with technology first, many organizations purchase equipment that’s more than what they need, or too intimidating for end users to want to learn. As a result, the expensive fancy equipment ends up sitting in a closet, collecting dust.
What’s the difference between dusty computers and successful telehealth programs?
First, there is no substitute for adequate program planning. For higher levels of success, healthcare leaders should conduct a thorough needs assessment and market analysis, to develop a business plan. A business plan and cost-benefit analysis are great ways to gain knowledge about how a telemedicine program will impact your organization, and the bottom line.
Until you take the time to conduct a detailed analysis of the community, talk to physicians, and identify champions for the program, you can’t assume there is a genuine market demand for the service in any modality of medicine. Many organizations have learned the hard way, by building their program based on assumptions rather than facts. I’m sure you can guess , their endeavors became a big waste of money, time, and energy.
It’s best practice to define SMART goals that align with your organization’s objectives. As an example, if your hospital is getting a lot of financial penalties from Medicare for heart failure patient readmissions, then a great SMART goal may be to reduce heart failure readmission rates by 30% in one year with remote patient monitoring to follow-up with the patient post discharge.
Start With a Pilot Program
The American Telemedicine Association recommends after conducting the analyses, deciding on one modality of medicine and one site to set up a pilot program before branching out to the entire health system. THis is so you can make your mistakes and perfect the workflows and in a small sector of your organization and then repeat a successful model throughout your organization. Last but not least, a supportive management team is critically important to the success of your Telemedicine program. If the Administration and/or the Medical Board have program champions, they establish a vision that is accompanied by resources dedicated to conducting thorough assessments and plans. If organizational leaders see the value of bringing telemedicine services to a community and influence widespread buy-in, then the chances for success in your program increase exponentially.
You may be thinking, “Who has time to conduct a thorough analyses and write business plans when everyone has patients to take care of and other projects with higher priority?“
IMST Telehealth Consulting Wants to be YOUR Partner in Realizing Success
Our suite of services is unique in the telemedicine industry, because we don’t make videoconferencing or peripheral hardware. We don’t write software to streamline health data. We don’t even have doctors on staff, or register patients for services. What we do, is focus on your organizational goals and objectives, and the health of the community served.
We conduct research and use evidence to develop a strong business case in favor of or against readiness for program development. If our research determines that you’re not ready to move forward with a program, we’ll work with you to get you ready. If you are ready to move forward, we’ll work with you to develop a solid business plan that with an emphasis on value. This is a comprehensive plan, including health outcomes, reimbursement, and return on investment. We’re there with you throughout implementation and ensuring your program is performing to meet your established goals.
Our goal is to be your long-term partner in ensuring your program’s success! You can count on our business knowledge, clinical experience, and partnerships with the most reputable telehealth technology providers in the industry. If you want to learn more about telehealth program development, we would love to talk to you! Making an appointment is easy! Just follow the link to our online calendar and select the date and time that’s best for you! You can schedule with either Aneel or Heather. Please visit our website www.imsttelehealth.com to learn about our company and our program development process.