5 Things to Consider to Launch a Telemedicine Program that Succeeds—Lessons Learned After 380,000 TeleConsults

In the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) 2017 Telemedicine Executive Leadership Survey results released earlier this year, telemedicine executives “are overwhelmingly optimistic about the future of the telehealth industry and are planning near-term investments to keep pace with rapid transformation and growth of the industry.”

Various vendor studies also support this idea that 2017 is (finally!) the year of Telemedicine.

So are we at a tipping point?

Well, telemedicine is not exactly a shiny new toy. It is already deeply embedded in hundreds if not thousands of hospitals nationwide. SOC Telemed (SOC) has conducted nearly 500,000 teleConsults since 2004. We’ve partnered with hundreds of hospitals. We have developed internal expertise on every aspect of making a telemedicine program successful.

So, what are some of the lessons we’ve learned about telemedicine programs?

  1. Speaking of shiny new toys: 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. Which means…
  2. It is critical to offer our clients tracking and reporting analytics. Any telemedicine program, no matter how small or how large, needs to prove it is effective. Data must be analyzed with a high degree of sophistication to provide insights on quality measures, 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…
  3. Scale. Telemedicine programs need to be built with the flexibility to scale in mind. Many hospitals expand their services after piloting projects, and the trick is to be able to do that rapidly and seamlessly. Our infrastructure is built to scale in that manner. We have spent over 10 years and millions of dollars building the infrastructure to deliver our services. Our telemedicine platform helps us coordinate physician scheduling and provisioning, electronic intake, clinical documentation, rules-based physician dispatch, physician communication and engagement tools, EMR integration and much more. We provide a right-sized telemedicine solution, and the ability to scale up the program at any time with minimal disruption. That’s because we believe…
  4. 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 after hundreds of implementations, we have developed a proven methodology for project planning, workflow analysis, predictive supply/demand modeling, training, mock consults, and creation of reports and analytic measures, etc. Our certified project management personnel on staff help improve the implementation speed and success rate exponentially. And speaking of people…
  5. Cheat a little by hiring mission-driven, smart people. Ten percent of our employees are Lean Six Sigma certified; we have many PMP© certified project managers, not to mention over 150 board-certified physicians. We were the very first free-standing and commercial provider of emergency telemedicine services to earn Joint Commission accreditation, with their Gold Seal of Approval demonstrating our commitment to top quality, evidence-based patient care every year since 2006.

So, are you at your tipping point? 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? Give us a call at 800-SOC-9533 and find out what Better Outcomes. Powered by Intelligence means to us.