Telehealth-Barriers to Overcome Before Going Live: How a Pandemic May Help.


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There are numerous studies and surveys reporting telehealth use will increase in the future. There are reports that billions of dollars will be generated and physician use will skyrocket. However, this revenue will not occur, and physicians will not embrace telehealth unless certain barriers are overcome. My paper discusses the process, barriers, and possible solutions when an organization implements a telehealth program. To implement the program, John P. Kotter’s eight-stage process of creating major change was followed. However, the transformational process did not occur until there was consecutive adherence, full development, and reinforcement of each stage. Difficulties in each stage i.e. lack of urgency, a weak guiding coalition, inability to have a strong vision and communicate it, and not understanding barriers such as telehealth definition, physician education, usability/functionality, impacts on workflow, electronic medical record documentation integration, coding and billing, reimbursement, physician and patient engagement, malpractice coverage, and platform costs, security and capabilities needed to be addressed. The leadership of an organization should find early adopters, educate both physicians and patients to increase a sense of urgency and engagement, be prepared to answer the primary concerns of the physicians and patients with assistance from a powerful guiding coalition, continuously communicate the change vision, and empower those willing to act by ridding of obstacles. Without correctly leading and utilizing a change management process, acknowledging and identifying the difficulties and barriers, and being prepared with solutions, successful telehealth implementation within an organization will be unlikely.

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