Click here to access the blog series and step-by-step checklist.
The telehealth champion is focused on creating the changes needed to implement a successful program or service. Under his/her leadership, implementing a telehealth program can move from idea to reality.
The telehealth champion role is fulfilled through developing, promoting, and helping to sustain a program or service. He/she shares excitement, builds relationships, provides education, and obtains buy-in for the use of telehealth/telemedicine within a practice or organization.
What do you need to know?
- Telehealth champions are necessary to program adoption and the continued use of telehealth, especially when telehealth services are optional
- Most telehealth champions can be located at either the originating site or distant site
- Organizations can have more than one telehealth champion
- As a telehealth program grows, the role of telehealth champion may extend to staff involved with providing services
- Telehealth services may not only generate revenue, but may also serve a unique role such as enhancing a rural clinic’s reputation in the community
- A telehealth program can be impacted by staff turnover, which requires continued promotion, education, and adoption of telehealth within an organization
- Telehealth should be incorporated as part of the organization’s business plan, which improves sustainability
- It is important to provide an organization’s telehealth champion with the tools and support needed to be successful
What defines a telehealth champion?
- Exhibits excitement about telehealth and expanding medical and behavioral health health care services, especially in rural areas
- Validates the need to push the limits of traditional health care delivery
- Understands the need to be persistent with the telehealth message
- Holds knowledge of all aspects of telehealth (workflow, equipment, broadband needs, training, measures, billing, patient/client consent, etc.)
- Holds the respect and gain the buy-in of peers within the organization, including leaders who can provide resources – financial, technical, and staff
- Creates a culture and work environment that encourages adoption and sustainability of the telehealth program and the development of additional telehealth champions
What does the telehealth champion need to do?
- Develop a program plan that aligns with the organization’s strategy
- Obtain buy-in from the organization’s decision makers
- Encourage and facilitate peer-to-peer discussions about telehealth and individual roles within a telehealth program
- Educate the staff about the value of telehealth, including how to educate and achieve buy-in from the patient/client
- Set up a training event where staff can gain hands-on experience with a telehealth encounter and equipment such as conducting mock telemedicine encounters, etc.
- Communicate regularly with staff at the rural clinics served by the organization to gauge turnover and identify educational needs
- Connect with telehealth champions at other network sites
Resources to get you started!
- The Role of the Champion in Telehealth Service Development: a Qualitative Analysis
- Finding (or Developing) Telehealth Champions
- Introducing Telemedicine Services to the Community
- National Telehealth Resource Center Program Development Guides