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“Are you Ready to Select a Vendor” Checklist:
Review this list to see if you are ready to start looking for vendors.
You have ideally developed a Telehealth Program Strategy that explains why your organization is interested in employing telehealth and to what end. At a minimum you want to be very clear about the clinical and strategic reasons for why you are launching a telehealth service for which you want to select a telehealth technology (see Business Case and Clinical Case below).
Before selecting any vendor, you need to have a clear understanding of how you will launch, run, and govern your telehealth services. A strong governance is needed to ensure the success and the governance team’s input and involvement in the vendor selection process is crucial.
It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a multidisciplinary team to launch a telehealth service properly. You’ll need clinical input, technical input, someone who understands clinical workflows, billing expertise, and expertise on any applicable laws, regulation, and policies.
Before you go out and look for a vendor, you need to know which of the dozens of potential telehealth services you want to launch, as different types of services require different types of services. Unlike “Healthcare IT Infrastructure” where solutions can be applied across all services, telehealth technology is intimately.
Telehealth is about delivering care, about practicing medicine at a distance. Telehealth is a clinical tool, not a technical tool. Thus is it crucial that a clinical champion is identified to spearhead the development and launch of a telemedicine services..
Each telehealth service must have a financial analysis and demonstrate alignment with the organization’s overall strategy. In addition, the clinical side must be well understood and supported by the clinical champion.
The definition of the workflow by which the Telemedicine Service will be delivered is critical. Not only will this greatly inform your search for a vendor (i.e., if your desired workflow is possible with the vendor’s technology) but mapping out the process also will identify all key stakeholders and users that should have a say into the vendor selection from the user interface and usability perspective. Once you’ve selected a vendor, you can always go back and modify your workflow, but you want to start with your ideal workflow. Why? Because how your organization delivers care goes to the heart of your organization’s culture. You need a vendor whose solution enables you to deliver care in the way you want to, not how the vendor wants you to.
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