By performing a Telemedicine Readiness and/or Maturity Assessment, we can help them more succinctly hone in on what is needed by the community and map it to the technologies available. A lot of times, we can bring new and disruptive technologies that accomplish what some existing platforms can't, and we can do it at a higher value and lower price.
In working very closely with our technology and vendor partners we see a lot of unique use cases for telehealth technology. Despite having been at this for 10 years, I am always astounded by the things that I DID NOT think of more than anything else. Having those great relationships and open lines of communication allows us to think differently about how to utilize telehealth technologies to help achieve strategic initiatives for our customers.
In regards to the "Where do I start?" question, I make it a required practice to review the Community Needs Assessment or the Community Health Improvement Plan for the health system we are working with along with those the same documents for their corresponding county Departments of Public Health (when available).
In a lot of ways, it is very similar to reading a corporate 10-K (annual report) or 10-Q (quarterly report). It will tell you everything you need to know about where an organization is doing well and what their challenges and threats are. In regards to a hospital or healthcare organization, these documents will reveal many keys to elevating the overall health of the community populace and census.
Just as a house is built brick by brick, your telemedicine program should be built one service line at a time. This will help to enable you to define and refine workflows and then apply those best practices to the next service line made evident by your Community Needs Assessment.
After reviewing the Community Health Improvement Plan with one of our customers we were able to determine the foundational service lines for the telehealth program initiative. Through working with a cross-functional team, we were able to come up with a detailed plan for establishing their new telemedicine program. Once the strategic initiatives and associated service lines were identified and in place the technology that would serve the need became very clear.
By looking at the documented and officially stated goals from a Community Needs Assessment, we can provide that much more value by not only offering the technologies to support our customer’s telemedicine program but ensuring that the IT dollar spend is clearly focused on organizational goals. This provides a good basis to start a meaningful conversation around utilizing telehealth technologies to solve strategic health initiatives not only for the healthcare organization but also for those in support the wider community through population health management.