Your Service Goals
To determine what equipment you will need to buy, start by understanding what your initial program services will be, as well as your planned service growth. A survey among your stakeholders, or an organizational needs assessment, will help you identify what functionality you need, which will make your equipment requirements clear.
Always begin with your goals, never with the technology. Here is an example that shows why an electronic stethoscope may be a good choice, and why it may not:
- If you plan to provide or receive clinical services, an electronic stethoscope will be a valuable part of your telemedicine equipment. If your first service is mental health, however, you can probably wait on the stethoscope. But if you plan to receive infectious disease services, a stethoscope is important to include—and so is an additional camera that will allow for close-up pictures.
Many organizations have purchased equipment that is not as productive as they expected, usually because their needs have changed or they were not clearly identified in the first place. If this describes your organization, you are not alone; this is very common. Review the information below for ideas that can help you make more effective use of existing equipment.