Student Profile: Wendy B.
Wendy started working in telehealth over 20 years ago. Working for a tiny, remote Federally Qualified Health Center clinic just above Nevada City, telecommunication was an integral part of the clinic’s practice and ensured that doctors and patients had the resources they needed in this out-of-the-way location.
After 11 years, Wendy left her job, and the entire healthcare industry, choosing instead to start a pet sitting business. At that point, she swore she’d never work in healthcare again. However, Wendy was friends with the CEO of Chapa-De Indian Health. In 2014, the center, which specializes in advancing the health and well-being of American Indians and low-income individuals, wanted to start their own telehealth program. Knowing Wendy’s background, the CEO asked her for help. Wendy agreed and began splitting her time equally between this new venture and her existing job.
Once she got the program going, Chapa-De Indian Health asked Wendy if she’d be willing to continue on as lead coordinator. Her first instinct was to say no. But she loved the area, and she loved the work, so ultimately, she decided to stay and began to work for the center fulltime. This decision led her to continue her education with Futuro Health’s Advanced Telehealth Coordinator Program – an online program offered exclusively in 2020 and 2021 and designed for credentialed professionals who already have experience in the field and are looking to expand their knowledge base.
The 15-week program was self-guided. It allowed students to study, watch videos, and take tests on their own time, at their own pace.
“There’s so much you can do online,” says Wendy. “As long as you have the ability to communicate and connect with someone who can answer your questions.”
Futuro Health provides students with ample student support, which proved integral to Wendy’s class experience. For the most part, her courses went smoothly, but sometimes part of the curriculum would be unclear. Or there would be a technical issue, with the wrong materials attached to the wrong topic, or materials that just weren’t there at all. When this happened, Wendy could simply reach out to someone via e-mail and get the issue resolved.
“They [Futuro Health] responded immediately, and whatever it was, it was fixed immediately,” says Wendy. “They were very receptive to suggestions. It was so well done.”
The course also included bi-monthly online check-ins, wherein a group of students from all over the country could meet together with an advisor and discuss how the course was going.
The coursework gave these students a glimpse of what was going on in hospitals, ICUs, and clinics, and how they operate. As a self-proclaimed “telehealth cheerleader,” Wendy knows that different individual clinics use different tools and methods, and a telehealth coordinator needs knowledge of all of them.
This has become even more important since the rise of COVID. What was once a service mainly relegated to small, remote areas has now become important to healthcare facilities all over the country: the ability to access tools and resources and provide care without physical, in-person contact. And Wendy is leading the pack in showing those facilities what they need to get their telehealth programs up and running.
Wendy loves her job in telehealth and would love nothing more than to keep doing what she’s doing for a long time to come. As for what’s next, she’s been offered a new position, supervising referrals from one clinic to another—something that’s integral to telehealth’s pooling of resources.
As for anyone else looking to pursue a similar career path, Wendy can’t recommend it enough.
“Taking a course like this, you walk away with such a wealth of knowledge,” she says. And that knowledge base is essential to a career in telehealth.
About the Futuro Health Advanced Telehealth Coordinator Program
The Advanced Telehealth Coordinator Program, offered exclusively in 2020 and 2021, is a 15-week online course, designed to lay the foundation of telehealth’s uses and benefits. It covered things like patient-doctor videoconferences, virtual counseling appointments, remote patient monitoring programs, and more. The curriculum was designed to help healthcare professionals adopt telehealth applications and explore the creative aspects of using technology to deliver healthcare.
The program was self-guided and offered 4.5 Continuing Education Credits, and an Advanced Telehealth Coordinator Certificate.
To learn more about Futuro Health and the Futuro Health Advanced Telehealth Coordinator Program, visit https://futurohealth.org/.