Eight Ways to Evaluate a Telehealth Vendor

July 4, 2020

A look at the questions you should be asking during the decision-making process of picking a telehealth vendor.

This content was originally published on Medical Economics, an MJH Life Sciences brand.

Many physicians are looking to hire a telehealth service company to expand access to care for patients during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Even though practices want to start their telehealth program quickly, do not rush due diligence. To help physicians evaluate potential vendors, the American Medical Association recently released its Telehealth Implementation Playbook, a guide with key tips and updates on telemedicine expansion. It includes criteria that physicians should consider when selecting a vendor.

Basics

  • What is the company’s organizational overview?
  • How long have they been around?
  • What is their funding source? Are they financially stable? With whom are they affiliated?
  • Do they have any notable customers?

Cost

  • How will this company affect your program’s return on investment?
  • How much does the product cost?
  • What is their business model?
  • What are details on reimbursement rates, risk sharing, and more?
  • What is the cost, process, and timeline associated with integration and any product updates?

Fit

  • How well do they know you?
  • Do they have expertise in offering telehealth to your specialty?
  • Do they have knowledge of federal and private-payer requirements? Do they know the laws and regulations in your state?

Tech

  • Does their tech match your needs?
  • Can they integrate with your information technology landscape, particularly your electronic health record platform?
  • Can their system capture data important to both the care team and the patient?
  • What are their customization capabilities?
  • Can patients access their data?

Security

  • Does the vendor have a secure system?
  • Do they comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act? Will they sign a business associate agreement with your practice?
  • What is their liability structure for managing security breaches?
  • Do they comply with local regulations, such as those of state medical boards?

Usability

  • How well does their system work?
  • How easy is their system for clinicians and patients to use? Does it provide engagement metrics?
  • How well do the dashboard and workflow systems work? How easy is the billing system?

Credibility

  • Is their system credible clinically?
  • Do they have documentation that supports improving clinical outcomes? Is there any published peer-reviewed research of their system?

Support

  • How is their customer service?
  • How much initial training do they provide?
  • How much support do they provide beyond initial training? Patient education? Project management? Data analysis?
  • What is their technical support process like?
  • Do you have access to existing templates and procedure examples?