In 2017, the Ministry of Health in Peru (MINSA) implemented the National Telehealth Network to extend high-quality specialty care to remote and rural populations in Peru. Since its establishment, the network has been rapidly expanding, with the number of telehealth sites, teleconsultations, and participation in tele-education (telecapacitaciones) increasing each year. However, there had not yet been a study to assess the success of the program.
Thus, in partnership with MINSA, Dartmouth’s Global Health Policy Lab (GHPL) looked at the National Telehealth Network’s impact on health care delivery in Peru. Specifically, MINSA asked the GHPL to assess the role of telehealth and tele-education in achieving the following outcomes:
1. Increasing the ability of medical professionals to provide care. 2. Increasing the ability for patients to access care 3. Reducing the financial burden for patients 4. Improving the range of services offered by the National Telehealth Network and the telehealth experience overall for both providers and patients 5. Increasing the effectiveness of the exchange of information between healthcare establishments and improving patient outcomes
To conduct its study of the National Telehealth Network, the GHPL utilized the American National Quality Forum’s (NQF) Telehealth Measurement Framework. The NQF measurement framework includes four broad domains for the measurement of telehealth programs—access to care, financial impact/cost, experience, and effectiveness.
Our team created surveys and interview guides based on the four domains of the NQF measurement framework. We distributed two surveys-one directed at telehealth coordinators and the other directed at telehealth providers-nationally. We also interviewed providers, coordinators, and patients in urban and rural regions to complement our survey results and to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of telehealth on the users and patients involved. Once we obtained the data, we analyzed it by the domains in the NQF measurement framework and also presented overall key findings and recommendations.