Rural Telehealth | How to Expand Access to Quality Care for Rural Communities

Summary: See the full recording of our rural telehealth webinar below.
Rural Telehealth | How to Expand Access to Quality Care for Rural Communities
Telehealth may be the answer to expanding access to quality care for rural communities and increasing throughput for rural hospitals. However, standing up a wide-scale telehealth program comes with its own challenges. Hear tips and learn some best practices from departmental leaders at Renown Health, Mercy Virtual, and Bellin Health on how to effectively implement and scale telehealth services in your organization.

About the Panelists

Aaron Bates, Sr. IT Service Specialist at Mercy Virtual

Carter P.Fenton, Jr.,D.O., Board Certified Emergency Medicine, Medical Director vAcute at Mercy Virtual

Karen Kielar-Moes, Telemedicine IT-Coordinator at Bellin Health

Mitchell Fong, Director of Telehealth at Renown Health

About the Moderator

Jason Bellet, Co-founder and Chief Customer Officer at Eko


Updated 04.28.21

We followed up with the panelists to get some of your common questions answered after the event. See the summary below:

1. How do you work with remote locations where the internet isn't good?

There are multiple types of solutions that can be considered. One solution is to look for external resources, such as local or national grant funding opportunities and to work together on community outreach. Another is to directly re-look at how to bring access to the community. This includes looking for common areas in these communities, such as libraries, recreation centers or other local hubs that can provide a way to bring this level of care in a centralized but accessible location. Additionally, establishing additional telemedicine sites or setting up independent rooms in other clinics or community sites that offer stronger internet connection and privacy for visits to occur effectively. Patients can also use Doximity that requires low bandwidth.

2. How does a rural community and FQHC set up a telehealth service when they don't have a large IT department?

Take a look at cloud-based options or looking at outsourcing and partnerships can help alleviate constraints and maximize the existing IT department.

3. How have you trained or provided access for those who don't have literacy or technology for telehealth?

Differing levels of education can be made available to support your patient population's understanding and capabilities with telehealth. One basic step is to use phone calls to support setup or even hands on face-to-face training to support that initial familiarity and ongoing education. Multiple mock runs with providers has also been a tactic to enable providers to more quickly perform telehealth visits themselves. Additional online modules, continued education and videos on demand for refresher training can reinforce those learnings.

4. Like a stethoscope, what other equipment is essential and feasible to set up in a telehealth center?

Knowing when a patient needs for their evaluation and when an in-person visit is required is essential to care delivery for telehealth. In considering what the clinical team needs to determine the above, along with the Eko stethoscope, other equipment has included eye lens, otoscope, pulse oximetry, blood pressure, scale monitoring and even additional pieces that operate independently like a tuning fork and doppler. Another consideration is whether or not your team wants to replicate on-site peripherals as well as other lab / diagnostics specialties.