We’ve plenty of evidence to support the importance of video within the healthcare industry, both in clinical and administrative environments, but what about practical advice? A telemedicine deployment needs careful planning and consideration if you are going to derive productivity gains and cost savings, and most importantly; improve patient outcomes. Derived from my experience, here are the top five considerations:
Establish a workgroup or steering committee of individuals from your organisation who will contribute to the selection of a solution. These should include someone from IT/networks, a clinician or medical person who will actually use the solution, a finance person who will be involved in justifying the cost and producing the business plan or approving the purchase, and – most importantly – a trusted partner from industry, such as a consultant, subject matter expert or supplier who has experience in this area. (I can help you with this one if you need help finding a trusted partner – feel free to get in touch with me.)
Clearly define the objective for implementing a solution based on technology. If you want a method of providing emergency medical second opinion during out of hours, put the reason in a concise statement, leaving out the technology aspect and concentrating on the application
Get everyone to meet and produce an Output Based Specification (OBS) of what you want the solution to do. Again, leaving out the technology, the OBS document should have input from each of the steering committee. IT will want to ensure the solution doesn’t eat up all their network bandwidth and is secure enough to discuss patient confidential information. The clinician will want to ensure the solution offers clear, uninterrupted conversation and is simple to use, yet consistently reliable. Gather each of these requirements and list them in sections in your OBS. (I have a template for an OBS if you need one – get in touch.)
Invite your suppliers to demonstrate and present their solution to you. Ask them where else their solution is in use. Seeking user references is by far the best method of peer recommendation you can get. You can learn from their experiences, both good and bad
Perhaps most important is to check their solutions are interoperable. Do they work with the majority of other manufacturer’s technology? You are going to trust your investment and the way you deliver your future service to your patients with these people
Let me know if you need more information as to how to find a trusted partner or how to complete and Output Based Specification (OBS).