8 Lessons Learned After 650,000 Telemedicine Consults

8 Lessons Learned after 650,000 telemedicine consults

SOC Telemed (SOC) has provided life-saving telemedicine since 2004. We’ve partnered with over 500 hospitals. We have developed expertise on every aspect of making a telemedicine program successful. Here’s a list of our most important lessons learned after 650,000 telemedicine consults:

  1. It isn’t about the cart. Don’t get us wrong, we love carts. We can talk about carts all day. But, the cart (or the PC, or the tablet, or the smart phone) is just an enabler of the consult. It can’t take the place of the clinician in diagnosing and treating. The focus must be on the patient and on clinical outcomes. In other words…
  2. Quality comes first. Telemedicine IS medicine. Hospitals should choose a partner with quality bona fides like the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission or ClearHealth Quality Initiative’s Telemedicine Accreditation Program. Even if you have your own physicians to provide consults, it pays to partner with someone who has supplemental board-certified physicians for when you experience spikes in the need for emergency care or if you need to augment night time or weekend coverage. And, it is important to measure performance, which means…
  3. It is critical to have tracking and reporting analytics. Any telemedicine program, no matter how small or how large, needs to measure its effectiveness. Data must be analyzed with a high degree of sophistication to provide insights on quality measures, measure progress, and to effectively match demand and supply. Stakeholders need to see how the program is performing by the same measures they use for other clinical programs. So, they know when to…
  4. Scale. Telemedicine programs need to be built with the flexibility to scale. Many hospitals expand their services after piloting projects, and the trick is to be able to do that rapidly and seamlessly—across departments, facilities, and sometimes even state lines. The infrastructure should be built to scale—and to innovate—because…
  5. Many hospitals are exploring specialty models for telemedicine beyond the big three: teleNeurology, telePsychiatry and teleICU. Choose a partner that can innovate with you with demonstrated investment in infrastructure, people and technology. Speaking of technology…
  6. An enterprise telemedicine platform should help coordinate physician scheduling and provisioning, online consult intake, clinical documentation, rules-based physician dispatch, physician communication and engagement, EMR integration and much more. Build a right-sized telemedicine solution with the ability to scale the program at any time with minimal disruption. Even if you plan to start small…
  7. There is no such thing as a small telemedicine implementation. No matter if you are starting with just one department, or establishing an enterprise-wide program, skilled project implementation and workflow optimization is key. Every hospital is different, but a proven methodology for telemedicine project planning, workflow analysis, predictive supply/demand modeling, training, and creation of reports and analytic measures, etc., is essential. It is important to have experienced project management personnel to help improve the implementation speed and success rate exponentially. And speaking of people…
  8. It pays in spades to hire mission-driven, smart people. Look for Lean Six Sigma certified staff (not contractors) and PMP© certified project managers. When a telemedicine vendor is proud to show you the people behind the technology, you can trust that they know how to avoid the hidden obstacles of telemedicine.

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Are you finally ready to build or expand your hospital’s telemedicine program with best-in-class infrastructure that can scale with you and provide the analytics you need to prove its effectiveness? Contact us to find out what Better Outcomes. Powered by Intelligence means to us.