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Why Telehealth needs to be Patient-Centered to support Population Health

 

Courtesy of EST's Asia Trip (2014)

In the earlier article, we considered why telehealth is different.  One of the ways I mentioned was that telehealth is patient-centered care.  To this, the well-planned Telehealth services are truly patient-centered, and not used as a catch phrase, because of the fundamental purposes they serve -- the patients.  

Each Telehealth service should match a population health need.

I think that for telehealth services to be valid they must serve real needs. They should provide benefits for the providers and the served population.  If not, the telehealth service will be unsustainable.  Hence, designing the telehealth services around the needs of the patient population they will serve is the initial step toward patient-centeredness.  

This step considers the patients need above all, and it ensure the offered services will meet their needs.  Using this approach as the guide to develop the telehealth processes, inserts the patients at the heart of any decision that creates the telehealth service delivery process.  This step also changes the focus in favor of the needs of the patients.  

Telehealth can empower the patients, as it allows them to decide where they want to receive their care.  Soon, the best healthcare programs should be able to offer Telehealth services to patients, and allow them to choose.  

Ultimately, healthcare delivery systems should be able to allow patients to decide where and how they want to receive care; either at the traditional brick and mortar facilities or by way of telehealth.  Offering both will provide patients options and increased access to the health system.  

Are you planning to start a new telehealth service?  Consult with one of the professionals that understands your business needs, and be sure your take time to study the population you intend to serve.  That way, you can be sure that your telehealth services plan is focused and patient-centered.