Telehealth is experiencing exponential growth and substantial resources are available to guide early-stage adoption (e.g. infrastructure, regulation), including tools outlining the basic steps to develop a telehealth service. Yet, telehealth programs are not widespread, small scale services are poorly integrated into health systems, and a majority of successful pilots are ultimately not sustained. At the Medical University of South Carolina, as our telehealth service portfolio expanded, we began experiencing a variety of growing pains related to increasing demand, planning challenges, resource needs, knowledge concentration risk, and the ongoing need to demonstrate value for telehealth through robust evaluation. We developed numerous tools including checklists and protocols but ultimately identified the lack of a comprehensive and systematic framework as a major impediment to ongoing telehealth service design and sustainment. We recognized a need for practical resources for telehealth service development and implementation beyond the startup phase and sought a solution. We identified the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) as a valuable resource for this purpose. ITIL is a structured framework used worldwide for information technology implementation. Because telehealth is a clinical service provided over an IT platform, ITIL provided the inspiration to create a structured telehealth framework, resulting in the Telehealth Service Implementation Model (TSIM™). Learn more in the resources and tools section.
About the Author
MUSC Health Center for Telehealth