Mapping Workflow of Telehealth Programs
Successful implementation and/or expansion of rural telehealth programs can involve mapping clinical workflows to seamlessly integrate telehealth into day-to-day organizational processes. Mapping workflows refers to making a visual representation of the series of tasks that occur before, during, and after a telehealth encounter. Program planners often use diagrams and flowcharts to illustrate workflows.
Rural sites may need to map how telehealth encounters will unfold within their organization and between the rural and remote telehealth sites. Creating a visual display of the components and steps involved in telehealth services will help rural programs clarify roles and responsibilities of staff members and help identify and address potential issue areas.
Workflow mapping involves holding discussions with administrative staff and providers to identify answers to the following kinds of questions:
- How will patients be informed of the availability of telehealth services?
- What staff will be involved in scheduling telehealth appointments and coordinating with remote specialists? How will staff manage referrals?
- On the day of the telehealth encounter, who will explain the process to the patient? Who will obtain informed consent? Who will introduce the remote provider to the patient?
- Who is responsible for coordinating follow-up care?
- For remote patient monitoring, how will staff receive data? How will data be integrated into existing systems? How can staff adjust other tasks to accommodate the time necessary to review patient data and follow up as needed?
Creating a workflow will help rural programs clarify what their telehealth program is trying to accomplish, define the steps in the process, and determine the appropriate program model(s) to use.
Resources to Learn More
and Designing Telehealth Clinic Workflows
Describes examples of workflows for telehealth programs. Discusses importance of mapping processes that happen before, during, and after the telehealth visit.
Organization(s): National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers
Illustrates sample telehealth workflows prior to consult and on the day of consult. Includes sample workflows mapping the scheduling process and the full pathway from referral to billing.
Organization(s): California Telehealth Resource Center
Workflow Assessment for Health IT Toolkit
Offers a series of health information technology (HIT) implementation resources to help programs identify current workflows and adapt workflows to integrate telehealth services.
Organization(s): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality