Step 1: Assess Needs and Environment
Telehealth programmes are usually developed in order to better service health care needs in a community. Whether the situation arises from geography (remote health care centres) or pressures on an overburdened health system, the same preliminary steps should be taken.
The first step is to determine a) which health care needs will be met through developing a new telehealth programme and b) the readiness of the organisation to embrace such a programme. Although choosing the right technology appears to be the main issue in implementing a telehealth programme, the ability for an organisation to embrace change is actually equally as important. Without buy-in from members of your organisation and community, you run the risk of expensive equipment sitting idle.
The NZ TeleHealth Resource Centre has staff available to visit your site. Click here to request a free site visit.
Key questions to answer in Step 1
- What are the healthcare needs which are poorly serviced in your community?
- Which of these needs could a telehealth programme service most effectively?
- Is your organisation ready to support a telehealth programme?
- Are members of your organisation aware of telehealth and its benefits?
- Are there any technological barriers to be addressed prior to developing a programme?
- Are there any administrative barriers to be addressed (scheduling, billing, IT)?
- Is there someone in the organisation who is willing to champion the programme?
- Do you have clinical support?
- Is there budget available to support a telehealth programme?