Post-Implementation Evidence-Based Decision Making: The Telehealth Assessment Tool For Health (TeATH)

  • Renier L Beukes Dept of Health Mpumalanga and Dept of TeleHealth University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Richard E Scott University of KwaZulu-Natal and University of Calgary
  • Maurice Mars University of KwaZulu-Natal
Keywords: Decision making organisational, telemedicine, telehealth, eHealth, decision support, operations research, post implementation evaluation, policy making, telehealth.

Abstract

Few telehealth implementations survive the initial pilot phase, and any anticipated Return on Investment seldom materialises. Within South Africa a reason is the lack of post-implementation monitoring and assessment. To address this practice gap we developed a simple and practical tool to allow decision- and policy-makers to assess the post-implementation state of current telehealth applications. Recognised management approaches were reviewed, and elements adopted or adapted to develop the new decision support tool. A systems-based approach, applying a revised People, Process, and Technology methodology (incorporating Infrastructure), and Balanced Score Card and e-Readiness principles, was applied. This allowed development of the Telehealth Assessment Tool for Health (TeATH), whose utility was demonstrated by assessing the current performance of existing teleradiology implementations in three Provincial hospitals in Mpumalanga Province. Expected results were achieved, with TeATH revealing fair performance in the Technology dimension, but poor performance across People, Process, and Infrastructure for all three hospitals. TeATH is a simple and generic tool that provides decision support and guidance to health planners, differentiating weak or lagging implementations for which remedial action can be introduced. The tool has been adopted by the Provincial Department of Health, and has already influenced recent policy decisions. Broad application of TeATH would reduce wasteful expenditure, and facilitate implementation and uptake of telehealth in South Africa and elsewhere.

Author Biographies

Renier L Beukes, Dept of Health Mpumalanga and Dept of TeleHealth University of KwaZulu-Natal

Deputy Director: Health Economics,

Dept of Health Mpumalanga.

South Africa

Maurice Mars, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Professor and Head of Department of TeleHealth

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Published
2016-10-07
How to Cite
Beukes, R., Scott, R., & Mars, M. (2016). Post-Implementation Evidence-Based Decision Making: The Telehealth Assessment Tool For Health (TeATH). Journal of the International Society for Telemedicine and EHealth, 4, e19 (1-7). Retrieved from https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/JISfTeH/article/view/180
Section
Original Research