You made it! Your organization has decided to start a telehealth program to expand the services you offer your patients. The beginning of this journey is all about planning. Planning for not only the start of your program but also the success and stability of your program. To ensure that all phases of the program go as smoothly as possible, you will want to make sure that all appropriate staff members have a seat at the (planning) table!
Still figuring out who those people need to be? You came to the right place! It is important to keep in mind that there may be overlap in responsibilities and people in your organization may fill multiple roles within the telehealth team.
Telehealth Program Implementation Team
The Executive Champion will serve as the project’s voice at the highest level and the programs biggest advocate. This role is important to ensure support from all levels of the organization. The executive champion will be the person who issues are escalated to if needed.
Your clinical champion is the core of your telehealth team. This person brings the clinical perspective to the telehealth program. Their involvement from the very beginning will make sure that any decisions made from an operational standpoint will be successful in the long-run and can ensure that the program is staffed appropriately.
The IT Resource is a crucial component of a telehealth program. Your program is going to rely on technology and the IT Resource needs to be involved from the very beginning. The IT Resource will be able to confirm that the program will be successful from a security and infrastructure standpoint.
Your organization’s Project Manager is going to be responsible for the initial planning, procurement, and execution of your new telehealth program. This role is important to ensure that all aspects of the program are planned for and are completed.
As mentioned, these roles can be filled by a single individual or multiple individuals. These individuals will come together to develop the policy and process for your operational team. More often than not, someone from the implementation team will also be present in the operational team, but it is important to keep an open line of communication with all team members every step of the way.
Telehealth Program Operational Team
You have your implementation team together and now it is time to start developing the process and policies for the day-to-day of your telehealth program. It is important to make sure that every role and responsibility is defined to ensure program stability and success. The members of your operational team may fulfill multiple roles, so the functions listed below can be made up of a single person or each component can get its own dedicated team. The size of your program will help determine the staffing needs.
Knock knock! The day has come and the telehealth monitoring equipment that you purchased or leased has finally arrived! Whether you ordered 50 units, or 100 units, or 1000 units, the equipment must go somewhere! Your Inventory Manager will be responsible for the housing and upkeep of the equipment.* This person, or team, ensures that the equipment is to standard, is available for patient deployment, and is available for any inventory related questions or issues.
*Some organizations choose to use HRS' in-house logistics and inventory management service, PatientDirect for management of all inventory—this includes sanitization, shipping, and pick-up. Others manage their inventory themselves.
Patient Education and Equipment Install
It is official – you have identified your first patient! You have reached out to your Inventory Manager to get equipment in hand but now it needs to find its way to the patient. Whether you are walking it to their hospital room or taking it to their home, someone needs to be responsible for this process. Your Installer has to make sure that the patient has a positive experience with the equipment from the very beginning—this person is responsible for the initial telehealth education. Once the Installer has finished their install visit, the patient should feel prepared to operate the equipment on their own. During this visit, the Installer needs to walk through all components that the patient will be expected to perform – Virtual Visits, Vital Recording, Medication Adherence, etc. This “day in the life” walkthrough will help the patient feel more comfortable using the equipment on their own. Keep in mind that equipment will need to be taken back from the patient at some point, and the Installer is a great resource for this process.
The patient has the equipment with them and is ready to start recording their vitals, recording their symptoms, and engaging in other tools the tablet offers (and they feel comfortable doing it because the Installer had a successful visit), but who will be on the “other side” of the telehealth equipment? The Monitoring Team is the eyes and ears of the program and they don’t even need to leave the office! Whether your patients are using the equipment for virtual visits or for remote patient monitoring, this team will be the frontline for patients. If your patients will be monitoring their vitals, this team will be responsible for reviewing the data and performing interventions, as necessary. Interventions can be performed virtually or in-person. Depending on the model of your program, the monitoring team can either be the ones performing these interventions or will coordinate with other team members to intervene.
Management and Oversight
When setting up your telehealth program, you will not only be determining the team, but you will also need to create goals. Once these goals have been created and the team is operating, someone needs to be responsible for tracking the status, and ideally, successful completion, of the goals! This oversight position will closely monitor equipment utilization and ensuring all members of the telehealth team are supported in their positions.
Creating a telehealth program doesn’t have to be a daunting task! As you can see from the above, it doesn’t take an army to be able to successfully launch a program. Successful programs all have one thing in common - they had a strong, collaborative, team!
HRS is here to help!
HRS is proud to have Subject Matter Experts available to our clients to help develop, implement, and sustain their telehealth program.
Not a current HRS client but interested in starting a telehealth program?
If you are currently a client of HRS, your Client Success Manager is available to answer any questions you may have about your program, as always!