Master the how-to of telehealth

Telehealth has been in the pipeline of hospitals’ digital transformation, but COVID-19 accelerated its adoption. But how can hospitals safely and efficiently set up telehealth? What are the top considerations?


(TL) Dr Alexander Yip, Clinical Director, Health Innovation and Technology & Deputy Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Alexandra Hospital

(BL) Dr Ivan Chan, Director, Group Digital Office, National University Health System

(TR) John Masud Parvez, Group Chief Information Officer, Hoan My Medical Corporation

(BR) Dr Jeffrey Staples, Group Chief Operating Officer, Metro Pacific Hospitals


Telehealth has been in the pipeline of hospitals’ digital transformation, but COVID-19 accelerated its adoption, with the need to be more flexible in providing care to patients. While telehealth has its share of criticisms, particularly the tendency for depersonalisation of care, it undoubtedly has its advantages especially when it comes to the continuity of care.

Now that hospitals are looking to speed up their digitalisation efforts, we have to keep in mind the key considerations in setting up telehealth. First is the vision behind this transformation as this will form the foundation in its development and realisation. The financial model must also be realistically built. Likewise, we have to determine how we’re going to implement the system: do we want it in-house, outsourced, or be in partnership with a solutions provider? When choosing a technology, however, we need to look for the right licensing model. We also have to consider the scalability of the system as technology is evolving really fast.

Nevertheless, we have to be able to get buy-in from stakeholders, especially users of the system, so we know if it really suits the organisation’s needs and so it is easier for us to promote the sense of responsibility in using the system.

Key Takeaways

  1. The magic behind efficient telehealth systems is really getting buy-in from the users, as user experience is a core factor in measuring its success.
  2. First, we have to choose the platform, and then we have to customise it according to our workflow.
  3. Having a capable team to onboard telehealth is indispensable.