Telehealth refers to the use of electronics to support a wide range of health services. These services include patient care, patient monitoring, and education for patients and medical professionals alike. For telemedicine implementation to reach its maximum potential, it needs to be integrated into the traditional hospital practices.
Telehealth and telemedicine have a huge potential to improve the quality of healthcare by increasing accessibility and decreasing costs. To build a successful telemedicine program, several strategies need to be implemented. Here are some of those strategies to help you start your journey.
First things first: Assessments are necessary
The first thing a health institution should do is to assess their operational capabilities and the needs of the community. It is imperative to find out what services the community needs most in a capacity that the medical staff can provide. To analyze this data, a market assessment is necessary.
Patient data is beneficial when it comes to determining which services are most needed by specific communities. As such, the hospital should evaluate its capabilities in providing those services. There should be specialists ready to provide telemedicine services to cover any community needs that aren’t readily available.
A hospital should also decide how to place focus on the program based on their market analysis. They should be in line with the return-on-investment and organizational goals of the hospital.
Goals should be aligned with the mission
The goals of the telehealth program should be aligned with the mission of the health care facility. This will help develop and align the telemedicine program. The purpose of developing the services should be defined to better meet your goals in the present and the future.
Developing a telemedicine implementation timeline
A hospital needs to have a timeline for significant stages of the product. This will help organize the telemedicine implementation. A lot of factors, such as the size of the hospital, and the goals aligned with the program may affect the timeline. Allow ample time for the assessment and the installation of the equipment.
There should also be enough time to test and troubleshoot all the equipment. Staff augmentation and conducting practice sessions is also crucial. A hospital should also anticipate problems that may arise with a program.
The timeline may also be dictated by other factors such as support and buy-in from the physicians. It’s very easy to get things done when you have the right support. The executive leaders should be in support of the program in order to make it successful.
Identify clinician champions
The clinical champions or leaders should be in place to drive development. Physicians need to understand the program and have a desire to provide telehealth services. A major benefit of telemedicine is enabling physicians to delegate some of the easier tasks to staff members that have more time. That way, they should be able to spend more time with patients who need more care.
Training is an essential component of any successful telehealth program. Telehealth technology is quite easy to integrate, however, your staff still needs to learn how to use the equipment efficiently. Training enables physicians to get comfortable with the audio and video components. They also get an opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns about the program.
Integration with other systems
Telemedicine implementation and integration with other systems such as electronic medical records is very important. According to research, about 15% of paper documents are misplaced and about 7.5% of them are lost completely.
Converting from paper to electronic medical records is a smart move. The use of telehealth ensures efficiency, data protection, and data analysis. While integration will not be easy, it is beneficial in terms of gaining quick access to data and having a single database for records.
It is possible to have the best outcome with incredible functionality when telemedicine and an EMR project come together. If you would like to know more about telemedicine and its benefits, give us a call today.