WRCAC Telemental Health Resource Center
Sustaining and Expanding Telehealth: A Survey of Business Models from Selected Prominent U.S. Telehealth Centers (Effertz et al., 2017) INTRODUCTION: Telehealth centers across the country, including our own center, are addressing sustainability and best practice business models. We undertook this survey to explore the business models being used at other established telehealth centers. In the literature on telehealth and sustainability, there is a paucity of comparative studies as to how successful telehealth centers function. METHODS: In this study, we compared the business models of 10 successful telehealth centers. We conducted the study by interviewing key individuals at the centers, either through teleconference or telephone.RESULTS: We found that there are five general approaches to sustaining a telehealth center: grants, telehealth network membership fees, income from providing clinical services, per encounter charges, and operating as a cost center. We also found that most centers use more than one approach.CONCLUSION: We concluded that, although the first four approaches can contribute to the success of a center, telehealth centers are and should remain cost centers for their respective institutions.
The State and Sustainability of Telepsychiatry Programs (Lauckner & Whitten, 2017) Telepsychiatry, or the provision of psychiatric care across a distance using communication technologies, has become widespread and has been used successfully for treating a variety of mental illnesses. Little is known, however, about the sustainability of telepsychiatry programs and their long-term success. The goal of this study was to determine current trends in telepsychiatry by completing an extensive literature review, and to follow up with the authors of telepsychiatry research to examine the current status of their programs and success factors or barriers associated with their experiences. Results indicated that modern telepsychiatry programs often target veteran/military or child populations, and that many rely on either federal or internal funding. Interestingly, several researchers indicated that they wished to improve current funding mechanisms, while others wished for improvements in the technology used. Implications of these findings for behavioral health researchers are discussed, along with suggestions for improving future telepsychiatry programs.