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Securing physician buy-in is the most important factor in determining the success of a provider organization’s telehealth program, according to results of a survey by Becker’s Hospital Review and telehealth services provider Teladoc.
The poll of nearly 300 hospital executives and directors shows that 67 percent of respondents cite physician buy-in as critical to a telehealth initiatives effectiveness.
"Physicians are starting to see that telehealth is very high-quality care,” Alan Roga, president of Teladoc’s hospital and health systems division, said in a recent webinar presenting the survey’s findings. “In addition, having a telehealth encounter is certainly better than having no patient encounter."
Close behind physician buy-in as a crucial element of a successful telehealth program is engaged leadership (65 percent). That means ensuring that telehealth initiatives are properly planned and funded, with a multiyear implementation roadmap as a guide. It also means ensuring telehealth has a higher profile in the C-suite.
"Director of telehealth is very common now," Roga said. "A lot of systems are putting that person in place to manage not only the consumer telehealth program, but also telestroke, teleICU and the other telehealth programs. That's emerging as a best practice."
Alignment with the organization’s strategic goals was mentioned by 63 percent of respondents as imperative to a viable telehealth program. As Becker’s Hospital Review’s Jessica Kim Cohen writes, the telehealth initiative’s value drivers should support and enable a hospital’s goals, whether it’s revenue growth, a greater ability to deliver care, or better management of at-risk patients.