What is a Needs Assessment?• A needs assessment is an analysis of the communities you plan to serve to determine if your service is appropriate for that population• It is also an analysis of the organizations you might partner with and their capabilities or willingness• This should be performed before starting a telemedicine clinic to determine if your clinic is needed and in what communities
When Should You Do a Needs Assessment? Needs/ Business Market Demand Plan Analysis AnalysisA needs assessment should be done first. A marketanalysis uses the information derived from a needsassessment to assist in defining a program or service Reference: http://www.telehealthresourcecenter.org/toolbox-module/introduction-marketing
What Does a Needs Assessment for Telemedicine Include?• What kind of access does the area have to specialists?• What kinds of referrals are frequently given but also may cause the patient hardship (due to travel time, expense, etc)?• Need for service and demand for service – there is a difference• Do not assume that since there is a need for the service, there is automatically a demand for the service• Does a community organization possess an expensive piece of technology (like a CT scanner) that is underutilized?
Cost/Benefit Analysis• Know the cost and expense of the clinic (how will this be paid for?)• Know the potential revenue to be generated (will you have enough business to cover expenses?)• Compare the cost and potential revenue• Evaluate the feasibility and possibility of investing new televideo equipment
Market Analysis• Determine the number or the percentage of potential patients—Look at the incidence in the general population or plot out where the referrals come from• Determine if there are service gaps in a community—How far away is the nearest specialist?• Identify key customers—Will they be willing to pay for the telemedicine service?• Identify competitors—What other similar services are being provided?• Identify potential partners—Will they be willing to join the development?
Field Study• Visit local healthcare professionals/organizations to determine their perception of the need and what their current referral patterns are• Visit the community to survey the local patients and analyze their willingness of accepting telemedicine service
Organizational Readiness• Are potential partners (hospitals/clinics/schools) ready for telemedicine?• Do they have buy in from administration to make the clinic successful?• Do they have staff that can support the clinic on their end?• Do they have the equipment/technology to support telemedicine?• Is credentialing required at each site?