So much technology to assess. How do you approach understanding whether technology is a good investment or not? Assuming you have a strategic plan and have identified your basic functional needs, the next step is “filling in the blanks” with specific types of technology for your administrative infrastructure and service line portfolio. I’ve covered the framework of an approach to this in my briefings, Getting The Best Tech ROI, How To Improve The ROI Of Your EHR: Optimizing Your Technology Investment, and What New Treatment Technology For You?.
That next step for looking at the wisdom of major technology investments is an important one. And, return-on-investment (ROI) analysis is a simple first step – it is essentially a cost-benefit analysis with which you determine the quantifiable (usually financial) benefits versus the costs involved in purchasing, implementing, and using the new technology. There are a range of tools for assessing the ROI of technologies that are available and can be adopted to your specific strategic situation.
The ROI of Electronic Health Recordkeeping systems – Within our team at OPEN MINDS, my colleague Joe Naughton-Travers has developed a field-tested process and tools for quantifying the costs and benefits for EHRs and health information technology (see Estimating & Achieving a Positive ROI from EHR Adoption: The OPEN MINDS EHR ROI Model and A Framework for Considering the Costs & Benefits of Health Information Technology). In addition, HIMSS has a detailed ROI tool that can be used to evaluate both the short- and long-term costs and benefits of implementing an EHR. The tool looks at the benefits of the EHR in terms of things like personnel savings from automated results documentation; transcription savings due to charting as a byproduct of the visit; savings from elimination of the paper chart; increased capacity for patients due to effective patient management, and improved information availability; and looks at the costs in terms of software, training and installation, hardware, lost revenues during transition, software maintenance and support, hardware replacement, and IT staffing (see EMR ROI Calculator). A few other tools include: EMR ROI/EHR ROI Calculator from 4Medapproved; EHR Selection Tool from Health Information Technology Extension Center for Los Angeles County; and EHR ROI Calculator from SourceMedical.
The ROI of Remote Patient Monitoring – The Center for Connected Health (CCH) and the Center for Technology and Aging has released an online tool that enables managers of provider organizations to evaluate the ROI for patient monitoring programs for patients with heart failure. The tool looks at the benefits of the remote monitoring in terms of savings, improved outcomes, and improved care efficiency – and explores the costs in terms of patient enrollment, technology and operating costs, personnel or staffing costs, and others (see ROI Calculator for Heart Failure Monitoring). And while this is specific to heart failure, the model can be adopted for other situations. A few other tools include: Determining the ROI from Remote Patient Monitoring: A Primer, from the Center for Technology and Aging; and Calculating Return on Investment for Remote Patient Monitoring Programs, from the California Healthcare Foundation.
The ROI of eCBT – In 2014, U Squared Interactive introduced the Beating the Blues US CCBT ROI Calculator, the industry’s first tool to enable health plan executives to estimate and track ROI of providing computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (CCBT). The tool allows health plan executives to use their own plan data in the estimation of potential financial return from investing in CCBT, and track financial returns in terms of decreased use in psychotherapy and medication for mild/moderate depression and anxiety disorders (see On-Line Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: The Return-On-Investment For Health Plans and U Squared Introduces Industry First ROI Calculator For Health Plan Investment in On-line Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Beta Test Partners To Be Announced).
The ROI of Telehealth – The Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center offers a variety of ROI tools to assess the feasibility and cost of replacing in-person care with acute care telehealth services in the commercial market and extrapolating to Medicare, by looking at factors such as how often the services are used and for how many conditions, non-telehealth competition, cost of care, and whether Medicare would realize savings if telehealth services were substituted for in-person care when medically appropriate (see Return on Investment (ROI)). A few other tools include: Telehealth Impact Calculator from learntelehealth.org, and Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring For Long-Term and Post-Acute Care, from LeadingAge.
Without speaking to the effectiveness of these individual ROI tools, I think that when combined with your clinical team’s technology assessment, an ROI analysis can put management teams in a great position to make the best choice among the many technology options that are available. For more, read How To Select New Treatment Technologies & How To Calculate Their Value, and join me in October for an executive development workshop at The 2015 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute – How To Build A Successful Technology Plan: From Innovation & Strategy, To Budgeting & Selection – where we’ll discuss how to build a strategic technology plan, and look at how to get the best value from EHRs, remote monitoring, and digital health tools in your organization.