Telehealth is a proven modality to better patient care, reduce health care cost, and increase provider efficiency. This article outlines the necessary steps for starting a telehealth program at a medical center or practice. A review of the current literature and health care-related laws was undertaken to identify the necessary steps and considerations for starting a telehealth program. Bootstrapping a telehealth program starts with the creation of concept and identification of need. Generation of a hotbed of support, from providers and patients, is key in gaining executive interest and idea investment. Development of a defined plan of implementation with the utilization of already available technologic assets facilitates ease of execution. Creation of a televisit platform, a patient portal for enrollment, and dedicated provider time for televisits to occur are the next steps in plan realization. Measuring results of patient satisfaction, number of visits, cost reduction, and scheduled procedures are powerful tools in support of the multifaceted expansion of a telehealth program. The authors believe that telehealth programs are critical to advancing patient care, reduction of costs, and increased productivity in the future of medicine.
Keywords: teleconsultation; telehealth; telemedicine; teleservices; televisit.