2 biggest telehealth headaches

Vendor selection and technology adoption are two of the biggest challenges for providers looking to implement telehealth at their facilities, according to Erin Denholm, CEO at Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Centura Health at Home, the post-acute care division of 15-hospital Centura Health.

Denholm, in a recent interview with the Institute of Health Technology Transformation, called selecting the correct vendor "critical" to ensuring a provider's program goes according to plan. "Technical attributes as well as organizational cultural fit are paramount for addressing dissemination of innovation programs," she said.

Meanwhile, she said, getting both providers and patients to buy-in and adopt such technology can be a difficult task, as well.

"Patients [and] their families are actually more explicit as programming naturally includes education and training," Denholm told iHT2. "Physicians and nurses are definitely more challenging, and at times it is only when evaluating the program" that problems are found.

In a recent analysis published at Lexology.com, health attorney Bonnie Scott of law firm Epstein Becker Green said that informed consent also is one of telehealth's biggest challenges.

"Although telehealth-specific consent laws are currently confined to only a small minority of states, all telehealth providers should take heed," Scott said. "No matter the jurisdiction, failure to properly obtain a patient's informed consent before initiating telehealth services can increase a provider's risk of facing consent-based negligence claims."

Still, the rewards of overcoming such challenges can be great. Hospitals that used telemedicine technology and referred patients to children's facilities saw their revenue increase significantly, according to research published this month in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health.

To learn more:
- read the interview with Denholm

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