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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology

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How do you begin to set up telehealth services?

Since the term 'telehealth services' can refer to so many different activities, the best way to start is with a needs assessment.

This involves determining:

  • What kind of access does the area have to specialists or tertiary care?
  • Does the organization possess an expensive piece of technology (like a CT scanner) that is underutilized?
  • What kinds of referrals are frequently given but also may cause the patient hardship (due to travel time, expense, etc)?

The next step is to look for collaborators and resources. Search for other programs that already exist in the state, or if partnering tertiary/specialty care hospitals are already involved in telehealth projects. Focus on other providers in the region. Telehealth programs benefit from economies of scale, so finding allies in the area will be beneficial. When it comes to employing IT staff, training new users, maximizing utilization of resources, and achieving buy-in for the project, there is power in numbers.

Additional Resources:

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
Health Information Technology Toolboxes help health centers, safety net providers, and ambulatory care providers with electronic and online resources and technical assistance to improve patient care.  More>
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