Yesterday we closed The 2018 OPEN MINDS Technology and Informatics Institute with my keynote presentation, How & When New Technology Will Drive Disruption & Create New Strategic Advantage, in which I explored the mismatch between technology companies and provider organizations that is limiting success on both sides (see Failure To Launch). One of the other big challenges that I see when it comes to the implementation of new technologies is the lack of true performance data.
For technology to have a meaningful impact on an organization’s performance, executive team’s first need to understand how technology will improve their value proposition. Then, they can determine which technology is the best fit to improve outcomes as part of the organization’s strategy for sustainability. Throughout the week, we hear from many organizations about new technologies their organizations have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, but calculating the return on investment and performance improvements gained from those technologies has proven to be a challenge.
On Monday we kicked off the week with a few examples of technology successes at the OPEN MINDS Consumer Engagement Technologies Summit (see How Consumer Engagement Is Reshaping Service Delivery). Several of our case study presenters shared their data on how new technologies have improved their performance in a variety of different ways.
For example, Janelle Wesloh, Vice President of Clinical Excellence, Innovation and Recovery Management for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, discussed their MyRecovery Compass, an interactive online portal that supports the consumer’s care plan. The portal includes My Ongoing Recovery Experience (MORE), a collection of online tools designed specifically to support the early months of a consumer’s recovery process (see Consumer Engagement Technologies and Addiction Treatment Using Digital Treatment Support: The Hazelden Betty Ford Model). A primary performance metric was tracking the number of drinking days for consumers. For consumers who logged into MORE seven or more times, there was a significant decrease in the number of drinking days during the six-month follow-up—consumers who logged in seven or more times had 4.96 drinking days, and those who logged in three or fewer times had 12.14 days. Also, 81% to 86% of consumers who received residential care and completed five or more MORE modules were continuously abstinent at six months, compared with 54% to 66% of residential care consumers who completed four or fewer modules.
In another example, Michelle A. Blackmore, Ph.D., Project Director of Montefiore Medical Center shared information about their interactive smartphone consumer portal, called Valera, that provides consumer education material, consumer self-management prompts, case management data for clinicians, and medication adherence prompts (see Using Interactive Technology To Enhance Collaborative Care For Diverse Patients With Depression And Anxiety In Primary Care). After introducing Valera, Montefiore tracked several process outcomes and found that 68% of consumers engaged with the app, 71% completed at least one symptom scale (PHQ8, GAD7, AUDIT-C), 64% engaged in a chat with a care manager, and 46% reviewed an article sent through the app. As a result Montefiore reported that consumers using the app had three times as many clinical contacts during treatment, and that PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores improved by 50% or more after 10 weeks.
Roberta Montemayor, Director for Telehealth of Optum Behavioral Health also shared information about Optum’s new Virtual Visits as part of its over 4,700 clinical professionals offering virtual services (see Virtual Visits: An Overview Of Telemental Health Services From Optum). Optum reports that the service provides 20% faster appointments than in-person sessions and a 60% decrease in missed appointments. Additionally, there is a 25% reduction in hospitalization rate and lengths of stay.
Later in the week, Bruce L. Bird, Ph.D., President & Chief Executive Officer of Vinfen presented about their work with the Wellframe app for self-management by consumers with serious mental illness (SMI) in his session, Case Example: Evaluating the Wellframe App for Self-Management by Adults With SMI. The app provides consumers with a personalized daily checklist, a personalized profile, care team communication, and a content library. Dr. Bird noted that after initial adoption, consumers reported improvements in five of the six items on the Stanford Self-Efficacy for Managing Chronic Disease 6-Item Scale. In an expanded project using this app, Vinfen then tracked outcomes for acute service utilization currently; monthly functional outcomes; comparisons to non-users, encounters; and changes in user satisfaction (SF-12), Healthy Lives Scale, and Wasson Health Confidence Measurement. Dr. Bird reported the program retention and weekly engagement was about 80%, and daily engagement was about 60%.
Simply being able to report these kinds of outcomes and performance numbers is an important first step for building sustainability around any tech adoption. Most non-profits are operating with very thin margins, and with so much riding on a “good adoption,” figuring out a way to measure whether the tech is or is not doing what it needs to is paramount for continued deployment and payer conversations. All the presenters agreed—provider organizations need to be able to tell their tech story and showing how tech improves outcomes is essential to that story.
For more on getting your tech adoption “right,” join OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Joseph P. Naughton-Travers, Ed.M. for his Executive Seminar, Making The Right Tech Investments For Your Organization: An Executive Seminar On Technology Budgeting & Planning, on February 13 in Clearwater, Florida.