Supporting Telehealth Services

Telehealth can be considered a service or a tool. Defined as a service, it would likely be expected to track its own revenue and expenses, and to show a positive impact. Defined as a tool, however, it may be viewed as a component that helps support and improve the overall quality of patient care services, within already established service lines. The effect would still need to be positive, if indirect.

Depending on the way your organization views telehealth, you will need to track different factors:

  • If telehealth is viewed as a way to support facilities and providers located in rural areas for your region, you will want to track the impact telehealth has had at these remote facilities by knowing the number of in-patient visits, out-patient visits or ancillary services performed.
  • If telehealth is viewed as a method for strengthening referral relationships, you will want to identify current referral patterns, and whether have they changed.
  • If telehealth is viewed as a tool in your organization’s overall quality improvement goals, you need to ask what the goals are, and how telehealth will be incorporated.

Once you have determined which questions are most important, and have enough information to provide sound answers, financial planning for your telehealth program development and implementation will be clearer. When you know the goals your telehealth program will support, you will be able to better determine, and plan for, the long-term financial impact.

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