It’s About the Journey, Not Just the Results

Across the country, states are joining with their medical
centers to pilot telehealth programs, with the goal of bringing high-quality
care to underserved patients. Particularly notable is the work being done in
South Carolina. The Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) Center for
Telehealth began several telehealth pilots in early 2014, and has since watched
those pilots become full-fledged services, offering a range of telehealth
options to patients all across the state. In a short amount of time, as a
recent Health Data Management article highlighted, “telehealth
interactions increased from around 1,000 to almost 300,000 per year.” Other
medical pilot programs, however, have not been so successful. So it begs the
question: What has South Carolina done to make its telehealth programs so

MUSC attributes numerous factors to their success, but begins by
acknowledging the role state and federal funding played. The financial backing
allowed the programs to access much-needed resources. Additionally, MUSC
focused on developing intentional, strategic steps to run their telehealth
programs. They learned from previous attempts that unfortunately failed that
not mapping out goals and steps would lead to confusion over the purpose of the
program, as well as how it was supposed to operate. Through conversations with
other physicians, MUSC realized they could not use telehealth technology
successfully if their goal was to replace faulty medical systems. That is where
developing better strategies and goals came into play. Furthermore, MUSC designed
a value-based model, focusing on “mak[ing] health care either more efficient or
more effective.” Through this model, they identified seven specific telehealth
services that would add value. To facilitate better implementation of the
value-based model, MUSC utilizes the following four phases: strategy, design,
transition, and operation. Lastly, MUSC determined that the longevity of
telehealth depended on partnering with other health centers that share the same
vision: “The patient may be located in a distance in a competing health care
organization…so you have to think about how you’re going to build relationships
with those competitors.”

Physicians and providers can spend hours lauding the benefits of telehealth and backing pilot programs, but that means nothing without solid, reasonable goals. That’s exactly what MUSC discovered. They did not allow failed attempts to stop them, though, because they knew about the benefits of telehealth. Instead, those failures fueled them forward, allowing them to create better practices and form stronger connections. As a result, South Carolina can boast of a booming telehealth industry, to the benefit of patients and providers alike.   

Click here to read the Health Data Management article on MUSC’s successful telehealth program.


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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !