The 4P telehealth business framework for Iran

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2022 Oct 9;22(1):266. doi: 10.1186/s12911-022-02011-4.


Background: Telehealth services can utilize various information technologies and improve quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery by facilitating education, treatment, follow-up, and decision-making. However, these services are not always commercialized, and in case of commercialization, there is no guarantee for their long-term sustainability in market. Therefore, business models and frameworks are used as part of commercialization processes to identify a set of factors affecting the sustainability, effectiveness, and key business activities. The current study aimed to develop a telehealth business framework for Iran.

Methods: This research was conducted in 2021, and a mixed-methods approach was used for data collection. Initially, a telehealth business framework was developed based on the findings derived from a systematic review and a qualitative research. The proposed framework was then reviewed by an expert panel (n = 9) in which the participants had at least three years of work experience in telehealth. Finally, the framework was validated using the Delphi method (three rounds).

Results: The expert panel believed that some components such as partners' expertise, required capital and financial resources, research and analysis, marketing and branding, tax, product registration, and marketing at scientific congresses and science and technology exhibitions needed to be added to the framework. In the Delphi study, 68 out of 74 components proposed in the initial framework were approved across four major dimensions; namely, prerequisites, production, payments and costs, and post-production services.

Conclusions: It seems that the developed framework can facilitate commercializing telehealth technologies and developing business plans. In addition, telehealth start-ups can use this framework and its various components in a competitive market to be more successful in their businesses. However, it is still critical to evaluate the effectiveness of the framework in practice and in relation to the commercialization of telehealth technologies.

Keywords: Business; Health service marketing; Telehealth; Telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Commerce
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Qualitative Research
  • Telemedicine*