1) Telemedicine Is More than Just Technology
Telemedicine is not just technology. Because establishing a successful telemedicine program calls for a deeper understanding of the needs of each community, it is important to consider all angles. A sustainable model requires attention to policy and advocacy, as well education.
2) Telemedicine Expands Existing Services Lines
The common misperception is that telemedicine competes with existing service lines. To the contrary, by working with healthcare technology already in place, telemedicine can augment and expand the services that exist.
3) Telemedicine Helps Communities Grow
Connecting small communities with large medical centers through a “hub-and-spoke” model can fill in gaps in rural healthcare. These remote connections are access points that give underserved rural communities entry into the healthcare system. The more connections, the greater the access to quality healthcare.
4) Telemedicine Drives New Service Lines
Introducing telehealth services to a hospital or a clinic can drive new business. By providing new service lines, small-community facilities can attain the revenue necessary to remain open. New services increase the number of people admitted to local hospitals rather than elsewhere.
5) It Is A Challenge That Takes Time
A lingering challenge is creating a sustainable model with the policy to support it and allow it to continue to grow and thrive. The regulatory side can be the biggest barrier, but this is just an entrenched policy that will require time to change. There is a goal to keep in mind. Telemedicine is a means to improve health, lower costs, and help communities sustain their health system, but will require vision, tenacity and a willingness to change outmoded models of healthcare delivery.