According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s 2017 HIMSS Analytics survey, the largest portion of telemedicine users are one- or two-person practices (30 percent), with the two practice types most often using telemedicine being psychiatry (21 percent) and pediatrics (20 percent). Only 24 percent of organizations of more than 101 physicians report using telemedicine.

“Hub-and-spoke” platforms — those that rely on audiovisual contact within single sites (e.g., the hub hospital to the spoke hospital) — are more common for inpatient services than outpatient practices (nearly 60 percent compared with less than 45 percent). This can be compared to other telemedicine platforms that include patient portals or other patient-focused applications (used equally in inpatient and outpatient care), e-visit concierge services (more widely used in inpatient care), remote patient monitoring (used slightly more in outpatient care), and consumer-grade, off-shelf devices/wearables (nearly equal use in inpatient and outpatient care).

In these latter platforms, the technology is more often directly connected to the patient (e.g., through a personal laptop) versus a fixed site (e.g., a spoke hospital).

These statistics suggest myriad applications that need to be considered when discussing spaces for telemedicine with a design team. Not all these services need to be provided in a bay, cubicle or room that meets the requirements in the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) Guidelines for Design and Construction documents.

For images and guidance on room design and setup, a video produced by the California Telehealth Resource Center and available on YouTube under the title “Telemedicine Room Setup” highlights some of the challenges and opportunities in design of the physical environment for telemedicine services.