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Enabling often gets a bad rap. We’re not talking about enabling someone to persist in self-destructive behavior, but in the positive sense of “making able!” Our goal is to help you be the person who not only makes telehealth possible, but successful! 

Attending the Georgia Global Partnership for Telehealth conference last week, I listened to the breakdown of their 650+ telehealth sites in Georgia.  There were two surprises – only 26% of sites were hospitals and only 6% were providers.  LOW ADOPTION IS REAL. Georgia is one of the nation’s leaders in the telemedicine business.

What’s Missing

I often do telehealth “readiness” walks through many types of facilities, from private practices to government clinics to hospitals, and I’m constantly amazed by the most common barriers to telehealth adoption by organizations:

1) Lack of a telehealth enterprise-wide strategy 

2) Lack of telehealth expertise (internal or identified partners)

Driving Forces

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) recently reported that patients are the biggest group driving telehealth adoption because they expect access and are eager to take advantage of advanced technologies.

Most medical organizations are now saying, “Yes, we want to offer telehealth services.” The motivating factors include expanded geographical coverage, increased patient satisfaction and additional specialist offerings.  The immediate, important question is, “how?”

Steps on the Telehealth Path  

The organization CEO and a telehealth provider champion taking action together is not only a great place to start, but required for telehealth program success.  Here are other steps in the process.

  • Conduct a needs assessment (internal resources, top value based initiatives, vendors)
  • Prioritize the findings and create an enterprise-wide telehealth strategy
  • Access internal resources and the telehealth marketplace (government, consultants, industry vendors) to fulfill the needs and gain access to experts
  • Use /partner with telehealth experts (Government regional offices, organizations, consultants)      
  • Path: Assess/Strategize/Engage Stakeholders/Install/Test and Train/ Implement

Telehealth is not a standalone solution, it is a set of tools that is quickly becoming not optional as a central way to provide healthcare, maximize resources, promote efficiency, add revenue and meet patient demand

So, we hope your answer is YES, I’m a telehealth enabler! We wish you much success in developing your telehealth program!

~Tanya Mack, President