Telemedicine: 18 ways to prevent excess pilots

25 Jun

Tino MartíTino Martí, Health economist

Telemedicine services, like any other high value technological innovations tend to work well in controlled environments, such as a laboratory, where the most decisive variables are preset. These experiments are called ‘pilots’ and lead up to the spread of innovation. Pilots often present Hawthorne effect features, such as the result bias displayed when the observed is conscious of being observed and adopts the best behaviour accordingly. Under the spotlight, everything works well, but when the project expands, it often fails. The phenomenon is so common that the health authorities have abused the pilots as a means of implementation and currently there’s a lot of talk on pilotitis.

But what makes a project to exceed the pilot phase and become habitual? And what are the features of the projects that reach a large scale implementation? With these questions in mind and relying on the European Commission’s support, the Momentum project was launched in 2012. Its aim was to develop a guide to the successful implementation of telemedicine in Europe and last week they published the provisional list of 18 critical success factors identified by analyzing cases of success in telemedicine, understood as the relationship between professionals and patients who are not in the same place. These factors cover the following blocks: Continue reading