Telehealth Models for Promoting Workforce Education and Training
Telehealth can be used to help the rural health workforce overcome barriers to receiving education and training and allow providers to
meet the evolving needs of their patients. Instead of traveling for continuing education, rural providers can
access telehealth technology, such as videoconferencing, to receive face-to-face instruction and to demonstrate
the skills they have acquired through distance learning. Many distance education courses use telehealth
technology to deliver aspects of their curriculum. Providers in rural areas can also receive tele-mentoring from
specialists located elsewhere in order to build their capacity to address complex cases.
The delivery of training and education with telecommunication technology is also referred to as telementoring.
Rural communities interested in receiving support for telementoring can contact the Rural Telementoring Training Center (RTTC) for
assistance. RTTC identifies six telementoring models that may help build the capacity of the rural health
ECHO, a hub-and-spoke model that connects rural providers with subject matter experts in other locations.
Many rural providers participate in Project ECHO.
Individual consultation, which includes one-on-one mentoring between a rural provider and a specialist.
Webinars, which allow rural providers to watch presentations and ask questions of subject matter experts.
Podcasts, which can target specific learning interests, be delivered in different formats, and may reach a
Online modules and curricula, which allow for self-paced distance learning
Adapted community health clubs, which are regular meetings where healthcare workers can meet with peers to
discuss specific health topics.
Other Examples of Workforce Training and Education through Telehealth
- The Virtual Infusion Project in
South Dakota trains nurses on evidence-based infusion safety standards to increase their capacity to
administer chemotherapy and address the side effects of treatment. The project offers biweekly oncology
education sessions through telehealth that allow infusion nurses to continue to build expertise.
- The TeleEmergency program at
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center offers educational training to hospital staff and
emergency medical technicians across rural New Hampshire and Vermont. For example, physicians at the
TeleEmergency center may use live video to observe nurses at a Critical Access Hospital performing a mock
code simulation. TeleEmergency staff then provide feedback to the nurses and offer suggestions to continue
to build their capacity to respond to urgent care situations. In addition, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical
Center helps to build the capacity of rural hospital staff through the Center for Rural Emergency Services
and Trauma (CREST), which uses telehealth to conduct case reviews and outreach rounds on topics related to
emergency and trauma care.
- The EMS Live@Nite program provides free monthly online
trainings to law enforcement, healthcare providers, EMTs, paramedics, and other volunteers in 140 rural
locations across six northwestern states. Inland Northwest Health Services delivers trainings in partnership
with Spokane County EMS through the Northwest Telehealth videoconferencing network. EMS Live@Nite has
allowed rural EMS workers to overcome barriers of distance, time, and cost that previously prevented them
from receiving continuing education.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Distance
Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grants provide critical funding for provider education
and workforce development in rural communities. For example, the Central Michigan University College of
Medicine uses DLT funding to help fund its Comprehensive Community Clerkship, which prepares medical
students to work in underserved rural and urban areas. Students use telehealth technology to receive
instruction, share clinical experiences, and connect with their peers.
Program Clearinghouse Examples
Resources to Learn More
Southwest Telehealth Resource Center Online
Education: Video Library
A collection of online training videos, available in six languages, for telehealth program staff. A brief survey
is required to access videos.
Organization(s): Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (STRC)