Last Modified: 01/12/2017
II. Organizational Readiness
As with any new initiative, it is important to ensure that the needed buy in, resources, and work plan are in place to ensure success. Without laying a strong foundation, a new initiative is likely to fail. Therefore, the first step in beginning a tele-audiology effort involves determining your organization’s readiness. There are three key components to address to ensure readiness to implement T-A:
- Complete a needs analysis. This helps identify specific needs and areas where needs exist. Asking questions such as “which areas of the state are experiencing the greatest loss to follow up”? or “which areas have existing telehealth efforts underway on which we can build?”
- Design your program model. The information from the needs analysis is used to develop a model for delivering T-A services. This includes targeting the geographic areas to be served, identification of personnel in both the patient and specialist sites, training, and technology resources.
- Develop a business plan. It is important to ensure that your proposed T-A program is financially viable in order to sustain the service. Many new T-A projects start out as grants, which are useful to fund feasibility studies. However, a business plan includes developing long-term funding mechanisms.
- From the article: "Interested in building a teleaudiology program into your existing hearing care practice or organization? Here is some practical advice, as well as 10 items to consider in your planning."
The California Telehealth Resource Center (CTRC) has valuable information describing this process via their “National Compendium of Best Practices in Telehealth Services: As you begin….Lessons from the field.” This resource was developed from 10 years of experience in the telehealth field and provides content from telehealth experts across the nation. CTRC also provides a Just in Time Video series that articulates these key steps.
The ATA’s Business and Finance Special Interest Group produced a Business Plan Template [PDF] specifically for telehealth programs. As defined in the template document “a business plan is a comprehensive planning document that clearly describes the business development objectives of a new service [such as tele-audiology], and it contains the detailed plans and budgets showing how the objectives are to be realized” (Barker, G., etc..).
Learning community examples:
- Iowa: Gathering Needs & Resource Assessment information to guide Tele-audiology [PDF]
- Tennessee: Reviewing geography of audiology resources and compared to areas of loss-to-follow up maps [PDF]
Creating Value Statements Worksheet [PDF] can be used with a team of key stakeholders to assist in ensuring your desired goal fits with those of your organization and potential funders.