Framework for Canadian telehealth guidelines: summary of the environmental scan

J Telemed Telecare. 2006;12(2):64-70. doi: 10.1258/135763306776084338.


A Canadian project (the National Initiative for Telehealth Guidelines) was established to develop telehealth guidelines that would be used by health professionals, by telehealth providers as benchmarks for standards of service and by accrediting agencies for accreditation criteria. An environmental scan was conducted, which focused on organizational, human resource, clinical and technological issues. A literature review, a stakeholder survey (245 mail-outs, 84 complete responses) and 48 key informant interviews were conducted. A framework of guidelines was developed and published as a preliminary step towards pan-Canadian policies. Interim recommendations were that organizations and jurisdictions might consider formal agreements to specify: (1) organizational interoperability; (2) technical interoperability; (3) personnel requirements; (4) quality and continuity-of-care responsibilities; (5) telehealth services; (6) remuneration; and (7) quality assurance processes. An additional recommendation was that flexible mechanisms were needed to ensure that accreditation criteria will be realistic and achievable in the context of rapid changes in technology, service integration and delivery, as well as in the context of operating telehealth services in remote or underserved areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Telemedicine / standards*