As one would anticipate, starting an education campaign is a major part of the process to expand telehealth. Having public discourse about the benefits and disadvantages of telehealth changes the focus. Using this approach, one enlists the curious while engaging the target population.
One problem to solve might be that the patients do not know the real benefits of telehealth. Therefore, the education process needs to begin and be active, robust, and visible. The presentations should include facts that only educates and allows the audience to identify the benefits to choosing telehealth. The Mainstreaming of telehealth must begin with educating the public that we ask to use it. We have to be able to provide the answers when we are asked why to the patients’ satisfaction so that they in turn ask their insurance providers why.
The telehealth developers should consider getting to understand the patients and the providers who will adopt the services. When the patient and the payer know the benefits, they will want to exploit the benefits.
Another problem that affects telehealth adoption, in my opinion, is a gap in communication. Yes, with as many communication tools available, we seem to be communicating alongside one another and less with each other. The result is a communication gap or barriers between those that are developing and know telehealth technologies and the people that should use it and benefit from it.
As we close the communication gaps and or overcome the barriers, I think that we can begin the discussions that resonate with families and with the patients. By providing this education, we become patient advocates, as well as game changers that enable and put the patients in charge of their healthcare decisions.
Adding telehealth to the health care delivery system may seem easy, but that is not the reality. Telehealth services delivery is a paradigm shift from the convention of how the care is distributed, delivered, and reimbursed. Adoption will occur only with increased education of the population it affects and those that will benefit. They are paying for the services and they are using it, so we can trust that they will inspire changes to the rules.