Colorado’s UCHealth had some idea what it was getting into when it launched its urgent care telehealth program last year—but as with all new ventures, things unforeseen and unimagined have provided ample opportunity to learn. Now the company is sharing some of those lessons in the form of 7 Riddles to Solve When Launching a Telehealth Urgent Care Service in an online article from mHealth Intelligence. The company acknowledges they’re not making money on telehealth at this point, but says the venture is a success in that they’ve made a crucial “investment in innovation” that will pay off in the long run. UCHealth charges $49 for a virtual visit, which starts with the patient filling in forms and describing their symptoms online. The case is reviewed by a virtual care provider, who gets in touch with the patient within minutes for further “examination.” Most visits last 8 minutes or less. UCHealth says it handles around 50 per day. Speaking at the MaineHealth Telehealth Symposium in Portland, ME, UCHealth’s Christopher Davis, MD laid out five keys to success in telehealth based on what his company has learned so far:
- Make telehealth part of the organization’s strategic vision.
- Culture change is more challenging than implementing the necessary technology.
- Spend as much time on the process as is needed—there are no shortcuts.
- Reward and incentivize early adopters.
- Maintain a dedicated staff, if possible.