Importance of Sustainability Planning for Telehealth Programs
To achieve sustainability, rural telehealth programs may need to demonstrate that the program has had a
measurable impact on the lives of people served by the program and the overall community. Evaluation activities can help demonstrate this value by
tracking progress on process and outcome measures of telehealth programs.
Long-term sustainability also depends on successful implementation and adoption of telehealth services. The
Northeast Telehealth Resource Center's Roadmap
for Planning Development of Clinical Telemedicine Services provides key considerations for integrating
sustainability strategies into program planning. For example, rural programs should assess their patient mix and
insurance status to determine how reimbursement policies will affect their sustainability plans (see Sustainability Strategies).
Key considerations for rural communities developing business or sustainability plans include:
Understanding the demand for telehealth in the community and the kinds of strategies that will best meet
Assessing current workflow and identifying what kinds of resources are needed to integrate telehealth into
Identifying a champion to drive telehealth adoption, address issues, and identify programs for continued
Providing adequate training and support for staff to ensure the best possible experience for staff and
Budgeting for implementation, maintenance, and periodic upgrades of technology
Marketing telehealth services to community members, providers, and other stakeholders
Understanding the regulatory environment to understand ongoing costs for reimbursement, licensing, and
Building partnerships with payers to expand coverage for telehealth services
The Telehealth Resource Centers provide free
technical assistance to rural communities seeking to create sustainability plans for telehealth programs.
Resources to Learn More
a Sustainable Telehealth Practice
Identifies sustainability considerations and supporting resources for healthcare organizations designing
Organization(s): Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
CTRC Sample Telehealth Sustainability
A worksheet for calculating projected costs and revenue for specialty and primary care services to be used by
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and Indian Health Service (IHS) sites
when developing a business model for telehealth.
Organization(s): California Telehealth Resource Center (CTRC)
Financial Projections Spreadsheet
Provides a template for a telehealth business plan and budgeting tool. Prompts telehealth programs to map out
their revenue streams and expenses.
Organization(s): American Telemedicine Association Business and Finance Special Interest Group