A home is only as strong as the foundation it’s built on. Same goes for an effective hospital-based telehealth program. It takes a strong multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers, as well as effective program governance to ensure the success of telehealth implementation.
Program governance is vital for any telemedicine program. And effective governance requires contribution and services from the clinical, administrative and regulatory departments within an organization. An all-encompassing governance team supports the preparation, execution and the necessary ongoing activities for the sustainability of a telehealth program. Furthermore it also helps resolve the differences between various team members, while also balancing out competing priorities, and advances the security of the telehealth program ensuring that it remains consistent with the general values of the healthcare organization.
Objectives of Effective Active Governance
First and foremost, the biggest goal of good governance for telehealth department is to build confidence among users, service providers and organization’s leadership. Other objectives of a telehealth strategy include:
- Supervision of technology purchases
- Legal and regulatory administration
- Growth of policy and procedure
- Organizational buy-in and coalition
- Accepting and enforcing technology and procedural standards
- Prioritization of activities and projects
Telehealth offers a range of exciting new capabilities that have already captured the imagination of clinicians as well as their patients. Good governance ensures that an innovative telehealth program does not fall short of its budding potential. A successful governance model will ensure better planning, implementation and ongoing activities necessary to start and continue an effective telehealth program. Initiating a telehealth program that lacks effectual governance structure is like launching a ship with no crew or navigation tools.
The Last Word
A leading telemedicine journal, Telehealth and Medicine Today™, recently featured a podcast with Richard S. Bakalar, MD, clinical intelligence and telehealth specialist in the KPMG Global Center of Excellence for Health. He discussed the “The Past, Present and Future of Telemedicine and Telehealth” with a special emphasis on the importance of effective program management and its major components.
Healthcare organizations are under pressure to plan and implement telehealth programs. However, it is important to lay the ground work to ensure long term success of such a program. This doesn’t discount the importance of a strong governance structure that keeps an oversight on all the variables of the program.
If you’d like to hear the podcast are read its manuscript, visit the telemedicine journal here.