What are the technical infrastructure requirements?
The technical infrastructure requirements are largely dependent on the targeted services associated with the project. However, nearly all telehealth programs depend on high rates of data transmission, so access to broadband internet is necessary. Government agencies and telecom companies are both interested in improving this infrastructure, especially for medical providers, so check with the local utility company about possible rate discounts or incentive programs.
Telehealth has benefitted substantially from evolving imaging technology. Consumer demand for related products has significantly lowered prices on high-quality digital cameras (for teledermatology and telewound care) and high-resolution display monitors (for teleradiology, specialist consultations, and videoconferencing). What was prohibitively expensive ten years ago is now feasible. Other common medical devices, like stethoscopes and otoscopes, are now available with integrated video technology, enabling their use in store-and-forward or home monitoring telehealth applications.
Other factors that need to be considered include access to the necessary technical support staff (may be shared with the collaborating practices) and training of staff to use the technology. Organizations also should consider workflow changes that will be required.
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