An overview of VHA's tele-health program is given in this article which includes an interview of a leader who is involved in this program. This program along with its operational and strategic considerations can be utilized by the non-governmental health systems that are keen to adopt better health treatments for their patients.
Identify the endless challenges he/she deals with on a daily basis
Technology is now days bridging the gap that existed between the patient and his coordinator, although technology appears to be secluded but it is not. There are just 10% of the patients who are given a program under which they consult their coordinators in person while the remaining 90% are delightful to utilize this mode of receiving attention. Moreover, where other areas of health technology implementation are concerned, we see patients quite excited about them. As far as the mean satisfaction level is concerned the score is 85% (Darkins et al., 2008).
Initially this program lacked openness because clinicians regarded the program as uncommunicative, but with the help of proper training and after receiving satisfactory outcomes from the patients the resistance was overthrown. The employees who eagerly participated in the starting phase of this program have now reached to senior level and have become champions in their part of work.
The home telehealth training has developed succeeding cadre of master preceptors. It would not be wrong to regard these master preceptors as influential figures who act like ambassadors of this program and are even of great assistance when it comes to solving local level issues (Darkins et al., 2008). This has enabled the information regarding the program reach the organizational levels as well, which has further increased the understanding with respect to the program and even its buy-in.
According to the program, the technology must not at all be complicated. A vast number of patients and the clinicians can make use of technology conveniently only if the means to get access to it are not very complex to understand and tackle. This was why straight push button technology was used, which was easier for everyone, especially for the older ones.
When health care itself is a very sophisticated and risky task, one cannot afford to face the complications of advance technology. Similarly, in case of home telehealth, a vast number of patients are handled with care by their coordinators without getting annoyed by the complex technology issues (Chumbler et al., 2007),
Ask the coordinator to rank those challenges from most to least demanding
Support provided by clinicians with respect to technology
Foundation of perfect master preceptors
Technology should be communicative enough for the patient
Older patients' convenience in making use of technology
Discuss the most rewarding aspect of the job
What we learn from VHA experience is that it has assisted the patients in soothing their lives immensely. With the help of VHA, the patients' can now look after themselves at the comfort of their homes. They no longer have to visit the hospitals so often or get admitted there for long period of time.
Along with health advantage there are economic merits as well. The amount of money that the patients use to spend in visiting the coordinator at the hospital and then by bearing the admission charges is now reduced greatly.
Discuss the most difficult aspect of the job
The most intricate challenge that the developers of this program faced was related to the awareness that was to be established within the patients as well as the clinicians. It was quite difficult to make them understand the use of technology.
Discuss the education and certification processes
One forgets to bear in mind the significance of training while the development of new programs takes place. In order to successfully make the program reach the targeted level, training needs to be provided to the staff so that they are competent enough to deal with their targets with care.
In 2003 when this national program was initiated, a training centre for home telehealth was formed. A Clinician who is newly recruited to the program receives almost a three-week training virtually. Currently, the developers have potential to train a huge number of staff members with the intention of upholding the program, but this fact should be given importance by the board for obtaining proper implementation.
What advice would he/she offer someone considering this as a profession?
Training has great importance and whoever chooses training as his profession needs to be sure that he completes it thoroughly. Furthermore, he needs to give time and effort towards his training schedules and should get familiar with the various uses of technology.
Any additional concerns or questions of interest to the student
How important is self-management in this concept and what are the other technologies available for use?
Self-management by patient is of immense importance. VHS has come up with an algorithm while implementing the home telehealth program. This algorithm links the needs of the patients with the proper level of technology (Joseph, 2006). The technologies which are most frequently brought into use are those linked with the disease managing questions which take place between the patient and his coordinator.
There are various techniques which can be used to achieve the goal of making him more aware about his condition and the symptoms which highlight the occurrence of particular disease. The disease management system needs to take into consideration the mentioned points as well as certain other controlling and interaction techniques. Live information about patient's condition can be collected through digital technologies like video conferencing.
What do you think are the future trends?
With technological advancements, it is expected that health industry will benefit itself to the large extent. People are expected to be more aware about their health conditions and how to take care of it. The next five to ten years can bring substantial revolution in the field of tele-health as people will be able to conduct live sessions with their doctors and consultants. In the present state of affairs, real time assistance is difficult to obtain (Tuerk et al.,. 2010) hence there is strong need to highlight the deficiency in the current system.
The healthcare system needs to be elevated so that modern technologies can be inculcated in it and people can take better care of their health through proactive decisions based on wise suggestions from consultants. Furthermore, there is strong need to make people understand that they are responsible for their health and they need to have adequate information and measures for it.
Present your interview in writing, as if you were submitting it to a newspaper or magazine
Technological advancements may take place in any country and field but in order to get them accepted in the system is more important for the success of that particular technology. It requires change in culture according to the technology that is being adopted. It is important to mention that technology adoption cannot take place in one go and there are steps for it.
The most important approach to technology adoption is familiarization of first technology in first round so that people are mentally prepared for more innovations at later stages. It is also important to note that technology adoption is a time consuming process and it may take five to ten years to automate the present system in such a manner that patients are able to communicate with their consultants on real time basis.
The exact picture of the system that can be in place after five to ten years is difficult to sketch at this time. In the present state it can only be assumed that the present rules will lay foundation for the next system and present rules can be evaluated for necessary formation of next system.
There are strong expectations for future tele-heatlh systems…