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By Monica E. Oss

June 1, 2011

Over the past few months, I’ve seen an increase in the angst of clinical professionals and executives of service delivery organizations about the use of technology in the delivery of health and human services. I attribute the angst to the fact that it is actually happening.

The common questions and comments that I receive won’t come as any surprise:

  • I don’t believe you can form meaningful relationships without face-to-face interaction.

  • Tech-enabled services can’t be as effective as being in the room with someone.

  • There is no possible way to insulate our clinicians or our organization from the liability of a negative outcome during an on-line interaction.

I could go on, but I won’t. In my article, Leveraging The Web For Strategic Advantage: Developments In Web-Based Service Delivery Are Evolving , in last month’s OPEN MINDS newsletter, I address the three environmental factors that are creating the “perfect storm” for integrating tech-enabled services (administrative, clinical, and consumer self-service) into the service delivery mix:

1) Consumers want the convenience and confidentiality of web-based services

2) Tech-enabled services are proving to be effective for some functions in the system; and

3) Payers are supporting (and sometimes encouraging) the use of these web-based technologies

To get a snapshot of consumer acceptance, check out:

Evaluations of web-based technologies is starting to be released. In the interests of full disclosure, the studies are limited in scope, not comparative, and often funded by tech companies. But, that said, there are some impressive results:

And, last but not least, payers are supporting the use of these web-based technologies and introducing some on their own:

While the number of services using tech-enabled tools increasing, the market tipping point is near. Now is the time to both keep an eye on the possibilities for you (and your competitors) and to “test” some of the early, less expensive technologies to build your organization’s tech IQ.  

Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS

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For more on how consumers are influencing the use of technology in the health and human services field, see: The “Have It Your Way” Revolution in Health & Human Services all members 

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