We at Capstone Health Consultants are pleased to provide the Board of Directors of Utopia University Medical Center our recommendations regarding design, development, and deployment of a multi-disciplinary Telemedicine program for outlying clinics.
In this document we will discuss the benefits and challenges that exist in setting up such a service. We will then review in detail the important ethical and legal considerations standards that must be met, as well as cost, training and implementation issues that we feel will arise. Lastly, we will discuss possible future developments and project return on investment.
Utopia University Medical Center
Utopia University Medical Center (UUMC) is at the center of a thriving network of schools, clinics, and health-related organizations that serves the greater Utopian area. Established over 40 years ago, the mission of UUMC remains, as it has from the beginning, to “advance health and wellness through education, research, and patient care” through the core values of “innovation, collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence” (St Jude Hospital). With well over 375 licensed beds, UUMC had over 18,000 admissions last year and over 60,000 emergency department visits. In addition, affiliated medical clinics in the greater Utopian area had over 370,000 outpatient clinic visits. A broad set of specialty services is provided in these clinics including everything from audiology to wound care.
While those clinics and patients located in close proximity to UUMC are able to enjoy sub-specialty services, there is a growing concern that patients living in the rural sections of the state have either no access to such services in outlying clinics or must travel hundreds of miles to get them. Indeed, UUMC already owns one such clinic, Clinic Alpha, which as of this time only provides primary care for its growing population. In addition, other rural clinics that are not part of the UUMC network are also unable to provide essentially anything more than primary care services. These clinics are located well over 150 miles from Utopia yet are serving a population that is growing in size and demand for healthcare. We see telemedicine as offering both patients and providers an opportunity to advance health and wellness through patient care by providing collaborative and innovative technical solutions that can serve the extended Utopian community.
The decision to bring clinical services using telemedicine technology must begin with an understanding of what should be done and what can be done. Certainly, many sub-specialty services are needed in the rural settings. However, an attempt to bring too many services too fast to these far flung clinics may well lead to failure and frustration. We are recommending a measured approach where telemedicine services can be established in three rural offices; Clinic Alpha, Clinic Bravo, and Clinic Charlie. Given the needs of the rural communities and Utopian...