laptop is open with a doctor on the screen.

Telehealth education

In a June Good Notes blog, doctors Maia Hightower and Charles Saltzman discussed the era of telehealth which has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to release pressure on health systems, use of telehealth increased to ensure continuity of care for patients who didn’t feel comfortable visiting health facilities. Now, even as more patients return to seeing their healthcare providers in person, it is clear telehealth will remain an essential vehicle to providing care to the general population.

To meet the needs of this changing landscape in healthcare, several departments at the U came together to create a new course on telehealth. The first class met June 28-Aug. 4, 2021.

“The students who participated in the first class with me were exceptional,” said Nate Creer, telehealth product manager at University of Utah Health. “The fun part was working with them to think through ways that technology can be used to solve healthcare access challenges facing both patients and providers in our current healthcare environment. The students came up with some great solutions.”

Creer is the lead instructor of the new course put together by the Master of Health Administration (MHA) program, the Department of Biomedical Informatics (BMI) and Global Health–Health Sciences with support from Online and Continuing Education. The multi-professional team developed a comprehensive approach to telehealth education that includes a wide perspective covering legal, ethical, service delivery and financial aspects telehealth services.

“For those of us at Online and Continuing Education, it’s wonderful when different departments come together because we can identify commonalities, shared goals and the needs of the students, and translate that into effective curriculum design,” said Deborah Keyek-Franssen, associate vice president and dean of Online and Continuing Education. “A course like this can seem like a complex build since it involved several different schools and programs. But for us, it all comes down to identifying those common needs and goals.”

The course is listed as BMI 6050/MHA 6050 and will be taught every summer for BMI and MHA students. Given the success, it will also be offered as a three-day intensive course Aug. 19-21, 2021.

“In this ever-changing landscape, this course is really great for all clinicians and healthcare administrators who want to think through new ways to support the patients they serve,” said Creer. “The magic behind this class is that it gives students a blank slate with expert-directed guidance from current professionals across the U of U Health System, giving them relevant information to support them as they think through solutions and create a strong business case as to how technology can play a role in providing more access to care and better clinical outcomes.”

Faculty and staff interested in designing an online course in their department can visit facultycenter.utah.edu and click on “Learning Experience Consultations.”