#1: Identify a Telehealth Champion
Implementing or expanding Connected Care is an organizational change, and the success of your program will depend more on people than it will on technology. Certainly, selecting the right technology is vital for service delivery, but it is your team who facilitates change and ensures consistency with the vision and mission of your practice.
- Identify a Telehealth Champion who is a true agent of change with the vision and passion to bring it about, instill enthusiasm in others, and lead your team (see Figure 2).
- Recognize that your Telehealth Champion is the primary advocate for your program and that success depends upon the full support of the wider organization—do what is necessary to ensure the Telehealth Champion and other advocates succeed.
- Assess available resources (e.g., time, funds, equipment, training).
Your Telehealth Champion is your team’s key enthusiast for telehealth, point person for troubleshooting during the implementation process, and continuing advocate for its successful marketing to clients and staff.
Any practice member who believes in telehealth can be the Telehealth Champion! Whether it’s a practice manager, customer service representative, technician, or veterinarian, it just takes enthusiasm and the willingness to help with selecting technology products, determining the telehealth workflow and staffing, and assisting with problems as they arise.
Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., CareCredit, and Merck Animal Health have supported the development of the 2021 AAHA/AVMA Telehealth Guidelines for Small-Animal Practice and resources through an educational grant to AAHA.