Client Success Manager, Carolina Rayzel, gives us some tips on how to begin the telehealth grant search and application process. If you are looking for some more information on telehealth grant funding, read her notes below.
Grant funding is a fantastic way to obtain the funds needed to launch a successful telehealth program. Searching and applying for grants might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! There are numerous resources available that can ease the burden of the grant application process.
A great resource for telehealth news and tips is the National Telehealth Resource Center (TRC). The TRC hosts regular webinars on important topics, ranging from reimbursement and funding to provider engagement. In one of its webinars, the TRC consulted with Eve-Lynn Nelson, Director of University of Kansas Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth, on her strategies and tips for securing grant funding.
Below are some notes I took on the presentation highlighting the main takeaways! If you’d like to listen to the full webinar, check it out here.
Grant Search Preparation
- Put efforts towards grants that align with your organization’s overall vision. Define your program’s purpose, whether it be to advance the business and provide better services to your patients, or to conduct research and inform future telehealth initiatives.
- If you got this grant tomorrow, would you be able to move forward? Define a piece of the program that needs funding – it is better to have a specific goal for what you will do with grant funding when searching for opportunities. Funders look for applicants that have clear and specific goals. They also want to make sure applicants have the structure in place to carry out the project.
- At the core of telehealth is technology paired with people. Identify a telehealth program core team, including those who will be champions for the technology. If your program has a research focus, you will also need to identify those with a strong science and analytics background for study design. Building a strong project team is key for making a compelling case to the funder!
- Consider funds for specific patient populations. Focus your telehealth program on a disease condition, geographic location, patient ethnicity, age, income level, or military status. This will allow you to search for grants specific to those populations and build a more detailed case for the focus of your program.
- Federal agencies. This is often one of the largest sources of grant funding. It is important to consider the mission statement of each agency to determine which might be a good fit. Agencies to consider include the Health Resources Services Administration, CMS Innovations Center, SAMHSA, NIH, National Science Foundation, CDC, and AHRQ. Check out grants.gov as a search tool. Though not a federal agency, the government-sponsored PCORI is another great source for grant funding.
- Local, regional, and national foundations. Foundations often aim to meet the needs of underserved populations, which you may be targeting as part of your telehealth program goals. Look for foundations in your area, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Aetna Foundation.
- Professional organizations. Check with professional organizations for funding sources. These funds may be small, but they can open the door for larger opportunities as they get to know your program and see results.
- Internal funding. Check to see if your organization has any internal funds that could be applied to your program. This type of funding may be small, but can at least support you in getting initial results, which can help you get a larger grant later.
- Read closely. Take time to read the full grant application and all the fine print. Encourage your colleagues to review the materials as well. It’s important to have multiple perspectives and be able to identify the pros and cons of the opportunity.
- Gather information. Grant programs often have Q&A documents and/or webinars available where a program officer reviews the grant and highlights commonly overlooked sections or frequently asked questions. Take advantage of these opportunities to ensure you are well-prepared to begin your application!
- Talk to the program officer. The grant program officer is your best resource as you navigate the grant application process! He or she can offer a wealth of information about resources, relevant documents, and other institutes. If you have any questions about the application, it is best to get clarification right away and build a relationship with the officer.
- Review the funder’s materials. For federal grants, make sure to review the agency’s documents related to technology, access, health equity, or related telehealth concepts. Also, make sure to reference them in your proposal. This lets the funder know that you’re committed to their work!
- The quadruple aim. Telehealth is a fantastic way to pursue the quadruple aim in your organization – improving the patient experience and population health, while reducing cost and increasing provider satisfaction. This often overlaps with many funding organizations’ missions, and is a great component to reference in your grant application.
- Spend time on the details. Funders look for detailed plans to ensure that you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. Make sure to include lots of visuals, charts, and if possible, include biosketches for the telehealth team to show your team’s broad expertise.
- Remember that grant funding is not a sprint. Even if your organization is not funded after your first grant application, all the work you put into it will support future applications. Ask your program officer for feedback and continue to build relationships to secure opportunities in the future!
Above all, it is important to ensure that the grant funding you are pursuing is advancing your organization’s telehealth vision. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your grant application with someone at HRS, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Nelson, Eve-Lynn. (2017, January 19). National TRC Webinar: The 411 on Telehealth Funding. Retrieved from