ProgrammingThe Telehealth Professional’s Guide to Successful Program Development is a blog series that provides an overview of the program development plan created by the California Telehealth Resource Center and the consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers. Phases include Assess & Define, Develop & Plan, Implement & Monitor. This plan, combined with national and regional resources, can help you build a successful telehealth program. Click here to read the entire series.

Click here to access the Step-by-Step Telehealth Program Development Checklist.


By now, you should have a snapshot of potential telehealth opportunities available in your community. Once you have identified the population that you want to serve and defined the services that you want to offer, you are ready to conduct a needs assessment. The needs assessment allows you to establish parameters around services you are likely to provide, clarify assumptions and identify constraints to the implementation of your program. While a needs assessment may seem like a waste of time, it will help you make informed decisions, which could potentially save you time, money and frustration.

What do you need to know?

  • A needs assessment identifies gaps between needs being met and needs to be met
  • A needs assessment can be as simple or as complex as you choose
  • Decisions that you make about the development of your telehealth program will guide the needs assessment
  • Consider the perspective of those impacted by your program, including your organization, your team, providers and patients
  • Identify similar programs that you can benchmark, which can save time and provide useful data
  • Organize and document results to get a clear picture and a detail-driven plan

What do you need to consider?

  • Do you know what health care services are not currently available to your patients?
  • Have you identified and prioritized activities suited for telehealth?
  • Have you identified the assumptions and constraints for implementing a telehealth program?
  • Based on your needs assessment, have you decided on the top reasons for developing a telehealth program?
  • Have you determined that there is a willingness and desire to pay for the fulfillment of the need?

Telehealth Carl

Resources to get you started!

Visit section 1 of the National Telehealth Resource Center Program Development Guides to access the following resources:

  • Needs Analysis Tools (1.11)
  • Needs Assessment Checklist (1.12)
  • Guide to Performing a Formal Needs Assessment (1.17)
  • Needs Assessment Summary (1.18)
  • Needs Assessment Worksheet (1.26)
  • GAP Analysis Worksheet (1.28)