Evaluating Telemedicine to Improve Access and Efficiency at California CHCs

Dates: 2008-2010

State: California

Client(s): California Health Care Foundation

Services: Health Care & Public Health Planning, Applied Research & Evaluation

Technical Expertise: Health Information Technology

JSI was hired by the California HealthCare Foundation to evaluate three telemedicine demonstration projects being implemented at community health centers in California. Two were urban-focused programs in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, while the third was a rural health program in the far northern counties of California. Each of the clinics and networks chose a telemedicine model, using telecommunications and information technologies to provide health care remotely, to meet the needs of their patient populations.

JSI evaluated perceptions of improvements from the patient, provider, and staff perspectives, as well as the impact of telemedicine on access to specialty services by low-income and uninsured patients. Each organization's telehealth experience was different, with varying degrees of success, but common themes emerged across all the clinic settings:
" Each organization saw a reduction in wait times for patients needing specialty care.
" There was high patient satisfaction with the telehealth process and little resistance to the use of the technology.
" Provider satisfaction was mixed, with most Open Door and La ClĂ­nica providers strongly supportive but some Southside providers resisting implementation.
" All sites reported challenges managing workflow and scheduling changes but were able to manage through clear protocols, procedures, and workflow charting.
" All three organizations emphasized the importance of a robust planning phase at the outset of the project.

Using these evaluations, JSI produced three case studies for the California HealthCare Foundation, highlighting the challenges to implementation and sustainability, the potential for replication of programs, and key factors for success of these models.

Telehealth in Community Clinics: Three Case Studies in Implementation

Chronicling an Entry into Telehealth: Open Door Community Health Centers


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