Enabling rapid telehealth implementation and operational visibility during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is ravishing the population globally and locally in communities across the US. A national state of emergency was declared by the President and hospitals everywhere are scrambling to prepare and deploy safe and effective screening, treatment and isolation protocols. Telehealth is now at the nucleus of not only the COVID-19 solution for health systems identifying screening and treatment use cases, but the center of the solution in general for meeting the increased healthcare access needs for all patients amidst stay at home orders. Scaling a telehealth program quickly and efficiently is a sizable challenge for hospitals and health systems. Below are ways to quickly start and scale a telehealth program across multiple sites and locations.
- Utilize a telehealth-specific project management platform to effectively launch and scale your telehealth program. Not all project management solutions are created equal. When retrofitting this process with a generic project management tool used by other industries, many important steps such as credentialing, can be missed. Operating a telehealth program at scale can be complex and often requires managing both clinical and technical processes with multiple endpoints, contracts, hardware, and software, often in a 24/7 operational state. By utilizing a telehealth-specific project management platform that takes you step-by-step with workflows, you can be assured that your telehealth program will be set up in a consistent and streamlined manner.
- Check and double check all the boxes because important information cannot be missed. When launching a telehealth service, it’s important that your process supports the complete implementation of the required legal, technical, regulatory, compliance, financial and clinical quality steps. The state and federal regulations associated with practicing telehealth also require time and energy from an organization to ensure all of their telehealth contracts and providers practicing telehealth meet and exceed all regulatory, licensing, and credentialing standards. These all require attention to detail and having a project management solution that supports and streamlines this process is critical.
- Evaluate and re-evaluate your current telehealth program. Prioritizing and vetting new telehealth service ideas, requests, and inquiries as well as keeping up with an ever changing regulatory environment can be challenging for telehealth programs regardless of size or maturity. Numerous professional organizations have published summaries and how-to guides for launching a telehealth service, the American Medical Association’s Telehealth Playbook is one resource that addresses all unique areas of launching a telehealth service.
As we have learned from the pandemic, the healthcare industry is dynamic and everything can change quickly. Health systems are currently scrambling to pivot from in-person care and launch telehealth programs. If you don’t have time to get it right the first time, when are you going to have time to do it over again.