Best Practices for Telemedicine Programs

  • Lois A. Ritter Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc.
  • Tessa R. Robinette Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc.
  • John Cofano Goodwell Technologies, Inc.


Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of a statewide telemedicine and eHealth program in California and its impact on reducing barriers to health services for rural and underserved populations. Methods: Data were collected via surveys, site visits, document reviews, and informal interviews over a four-year period by an external evaluation team. Results: Medical consultations in 33 medical specialties were provided in 22 counties. Patients and providers were satisfied with telemedicine services, and the technical support and education provided was rated as being of high quality. Many policies and barriers exist that impede full deployment and sustainability of telemedicine programs. Provider recruitment is a challenge; consumer demand was lower than expected. Trial and error for program planning and implementation was the norm for this pioneering effort. Although technological and communicative networking among the grantees was initially minimal, it increased over time. Conclusions: Telemedicine can improve access to medical care for people who reside in rural populations and underserved markets. We speculate that a systematic statewide telemedicine program with a few regional telemedicine centers may be a better approach than numerous stand-alone programs.
How to Cite
Ritter, L. A., Robinette, T. R., & Cofano, J. (2010). Best Practices for Telemedicine Programs. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 8(1), 1-9.