Throughout the past few decades, telehealth has increasingly been integrated into healthcare systems and organizations across the United States for its great opportunity to increase access, improve quality and reduce costs of healthcare. Many of the reasons organizations choose to implement telehealth programs align with their overarching strategic business goals, as demonstrated by the financial benefits highlighted in Figure A. Healthcare is a business, and when making important business decisions, such as to implement a telehealth program, business models are used to assess the needs of an organization, and ways telehealth can work as a solution as well as gaps and challenges that will still exist. Each organization has a unique set of needs and populations it serves, which is why individual assessments are necessary for each telehealth program. Since telehealth is relatively newer, the business models that are being used have not been created specifically for analyzing telehealth programs for healthcare organizations. Given that telehealth programs are assessed with general business models, the goal of this website will be to compare effective components of business models that have been implemented by telehealth programs and identify the areas of weakness in these models due to the nature of telehealth.
Figure A: Value of Information: Financial Benefits from Telehealth. Adapted from Arkwright, B., Leslie, M., & Light, M. Retrieved from https://telehealthandmedicinetoday.com/index.php/journal/article/view/140/164
The current research on business models used for telehealth has limited information on comparing the strengths and weaknesses of each business model. There is research done extensively on general business models and their ability to successfully analyze and plan for projects, but they are lacking a focus on examining their usefulness for telehealth programs in healthcare organizations. The prevalent business models that have been examined in current research, and will be compared within this website, include the business model canvas, VISOR business model, the National Rural Telecommunication Cooperative (NRTC) business model, and the Arizona Telehealth Program (ATP) business model, as well as five financial components that various telehealth companies have included into their business models.