AHIMA released a new toolkit that aims to provide guidance to healthcare organizations about telehealth, as its use soared during the pandemic and many organizations are seeking to implement or expand their telehealth programs.
“Countries around the world are interested in increasing their use of telehealth, and for good reason,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “Telehealth can increase the quality and efficiency of care, while reaching underserved populations. We believe our new telehealth toolkit is an excellent resource for any healthcare professional looking for the steps required to successfully implement and maintain a telehealth program.”
While the pandemic accelerated the use of telehealth, the potential of digital health technologies to make health systems and services more effective was widely recognized before COVID-19, according to the toolkit. The toolkit’s authors highlight the benefits of a telehealth program, including enhanced access to care and timeliness. They also offer guidance to patients for telehealth appointments, recommending they:
- Test the connectivity, battery, and operation of the camera, microphone, and speakers of the device to be used.
- Use a private and quiet space where others cannot hear the sound of the video consultation.
- Depending on the reason for the visit, they should consider wearing clothing that allows the doctor to examine them by video.
- Consider making a written list of concerns and inquiries prior to the appointment.
The toolkit also contains an extensive overview of the definitions of telemedicine and telehealth, and features information for healthcare organizations considering a telehealth program, including:
- Challenges and considerations for implementing a telehealth program, both technologically and organizationally.
- A step-by-step guide on how to take a telehealth program from its initial stages to its implementation.
- A comprehensive analysis of requirements to consider in advance of telemedicine implementation, from legal policies to documentation and reimbursement considerations.
The telehealth toolkit was developed thanks to the time and talents of 10 volunteers and is available for purchase at AHIMA.org.