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J Telemed Telecare. 2003;9(3):125-9.

Success and failure: a case study of two rural telemedicine projects.

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Department of Telecommunication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1212, USA.


We studied two rural telemedicine projects in the state of Michigan: one that enjoyed success and steady growth in activity, and one that experienced frustration and a lack of clinical utilization. Multiple data collection strategies were employed during study periods, which lasted approximately one year. Both projects enjoyed a grassroots approach and had dedicated project coordinators. However, the more successful project benefited from resources and expertise not available to the less successful project. In addition, the more successful project possessed a more formalized organizational structure for the telemedicine application. A comparison of the two projects leads to a simple conclusion. Telemedicine programmes are positioned within larger health organizations and do not operate in a vacuum. It is crucial that the organization in which it is intended to launch telemedicine is examined carefully first. Each organization operates within a larger environment, which is often constrained by fiscal, geographical and personnel factors. All these will affect the introduction of telemedicine.

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