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Implementing telemedicine can seem daunting, especially when budgets are tight. But with some clever planning, it is possible!
In our work consulting hospitals on new programs, We’ve seen how telehealth can be adopted cost-effectively.
We want to share some budget-friendly tips so any hospital, big or small, can take advantage of telemedicine.
First off, take stock of the tech you already have.
You may be surprised to find your own video software licenses or conference equipment that could get you started.
No need to buy the shiny new telemedicine suite right away!
Begin with what you have on hand to keep costs minimal.
We also recommend starting very small and focused.
Pick one specialty, like neurology or critical care, and one department to pilot services.
It’s better to walk before you run.
Learn the ropes with a limited trial run and then you can smartly scale.
Here’s a helpful tip- use remote staffing to operate services!
Rather than hiring new neurologists and intensivists as full-time staff, bring them in as remote consultants for shifts.
You gain access to top specialists who may be hard to directly recruit.
There are government and nonprofit grants out there if you search.
The FCC and Project ECHO are two places to look for telemedicine adoption funding.
Hey, if someone else is willing to foot part of the bill, take advantage!
Finally, make some friends.
Call up a hospital that’s been doing telemedicine successfully and pick their brains.
Learn their lessons and best practices so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Partnering with experienced players can really smooth the path.
Telemedicine is worth the investment in terms of better care.
But with smart strategic moves, you can roll it out in affordable stages.
Pilot small and partner for success.
Here’s to providing the benefits of telemedicine access to patients everywhere in a sustainable way!
FAQs About Implementing Telemedicine
What if we don’t have the internal expertise to lead implementation?
Don’t sweat it!
There are great external partners and consultants who can guide you through the process.
Shop around to find an advisor with expertise in implementing telemedicine at hospitals like yours.
Their know-how can fill in any gaps in the technical or operational aspects.
I’m worried about reimbursement. Does telemedicine pay off?
This is understandable, as reimbursement models are changing.
The good news is Medicare and many private insurers now cover telemedicine services comparable to in-office visits.
With value-based care on the rise, the remote and convenient access of telemedicine should be financially rewarded.
Track reimbursement rates as you pilot services to get a sense of the revenue potential.
How long does implementation take?
With careful planning, you can launch initial telemedicine services in 3-6 months.
Starting with a limited pilot allows you to get off the ground quickly.
If all goes well, broader expansion across more specialties may take 6 more months to a year. Move steadily but don’t feel like you have to boil the ocean from day 1!