A telehealth network based at the Medical College of Georgia was established in 2003 to treat stroke patients in remote hospitals. In the first three years, more than 400 patients were evaluated at nine rural hospitals. A total of 65 patients (16%) were treated with tissue plasminogen activator (approximately half of them in less than 2 h). Although clinically successful, the system reached the point at which it would either further diffuse or die out. We examined the roles played by internal and external factors in the development of the system. We interviewed 25 individuals in five hospitals (the hub hospital and four rural hospitals). Important business issues were identified that would need to be addressed in order to expand the project and make it self-sustaining. The external factors were economic, legal and market issues. The internal factors were organizational, technical and educational issues. Early identification and negotiation of business issues related to project implementation are likely to be important in diffusion and sustainability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics