Scaling Up Telemedicine Initiatives: Requirements for a New Telemedicine Maturity Model

Scaling Up Telemedicine Initiatives: Requirements for a New Telemedicine Maturity Model

Lena Otto (TU Dresden, Germany), Diane Whitehouse (European Health Telematics Association, Belgium) and Hannes Schlieter (TU Dresden, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1371-2.ch011

Abstract

Telemedicine maturity models aim to support telemedicine scaling up. Even though a diversity of telemedicine maturity models, and further support tools, exist, they are often unable to support users proactively or offer substantial guidance for the improvement of the status quo. A new maturity model is therefore needed that overcomes the shortcomings evident in existing approaches. This chapter aims to identify requirements that such a model has to fulfil based on an analysis of existing maturity models. The results guide future research and can support the scaling up of telemedicine initiatives.
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Telemedicine And Maturity

Telemedicine, as part of eHealth, describes the location- and time-independent delivery of healthcare services and/or medical education by professionals through the use of information and communication technology (ICT) (Sood et al., 2007). Healthcare disparities, especially in rural or underserved areas, can be overcome by the use of telemedicine since it connects electronically patients and professionals who are geographically distributed (Zapka et al., 2013). Telemedicine initiatives are highly complex, and are influenced not only by their users, their behavioural and ethical concepts, but also by surrounding factors like legal, organisational or financial conditions (Broens et al., 2007; Ly et al., 2017). To successfully scale up telemedicine initiatives, this complexity needs consideration. Addressing telemedicine initiatives’ complexity is mostly done prior to implementation by referring to “telemedicine readiness”. Readiness describes the “degree to which users, healthcare organisations, and the health system itself, are prepared to participate and succeed” (The Alliance for Building Capacity, 2002, p. 2) with telemedicine implementation. Supporting tools for telemedicine scaling up should include the provision of improvement measures, by helping users understand which steps could be taken in what context and by guiding them during the implementation process. As one such support tool, a maturity model describes a path to reach an advanced stage of maturity, including the definition of the current status quo, an overview of next steps, and the provision of a common understanding for different stakeholders to work on (Katuu, 2016; Klimko & Remenyi, 2001). Being mature is hereby defined as “having reached the most advanced stage in a process” (Oxford Dictionaries, n.d.). The entity under consideration can be people, processes or objects (Klimko & Remenyi, 2001).

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