Over the past several weeks, we’ve outlined the first two stages of Geonetric’s strategy framework for eHealth: The eHealth Maturity Model.
At Level 1: Critical Mass In Adoption, organizations value usage of the site and are focused heavily on usability, making sure visitors to the site successfully complete tasks. Level 2 organizations, however, look past usability and concentrate on the overall experience users have on the site. At Level 2: Measurable User Satisfaction, organizations seek to create an experience that users will prefer over the traditional approach for accomplishing the same end result.
Both of these levels are necessary to success. However, the organizations that accomplish Level 2 quickly look forward to ensuring the site delivers value to the organization, not only the consumers.
Challenges to measuring changes in outcomes
It’s difficult to measure changes in outcomes that relate to eHealth. Keep in mind, these are different than the various financial metrics you may use to measure eHealth success (we are saving those for our next article that addresses Level 4). Looking at the value eHealth initiatives deliver to the organization in a holistic and timely manner can prove more beneficial than relying on financial metrics alone.
Measuring outcomes can be difficult, because it requires our systems (e.g., Web, admissions, call center, patient accounting, etc.) to work together in order to answer challenging questions. Often it also requires information that clinicians typically don’t have today, for example, a patient’s adherence to a regimen.
On the other hand, it’s likely we don’t measure changes in outcomes because we’re not being asked to measure them. Organizations tend to focus on more simple success measures, such as traffic data. Or, they focus on financial success measures, such as ROI, which are typically hard to track successfully.
Because we’re not asked to measure changes in our core business outcomes, it’s difficult to formally value them as a part of our eHealth strategy. As a result, we often don’t perform the types of initiatives needed to ensure we meet our goals, or we don’t optimize our efforts in pursuit of meeting the goals.
What we know will ultimately influence our actions and priorities.
Level 3: Demonstrable changes in outcomes that matter to your core business
We’ve found that changes in outcomes fall into four general categories:
Care goals. Your purpose is to diagnose, treat, and manage disease as well as promote health through preventative care. Within care goals, we seek to improve wellness, provide effective disease management, and improve adherence to prescribed care regimens.
Mission goals. Many organizations go beyond the goal of providing excellent care and place their focus on a deeper mission. When developing mission goals, you should consider how eHealth helps your organization serve the vulnerable and traditionally underserved, improve charitable fundraising and educate your patients.
Research goals. While researchers are a vital part of many institutions, they often get less attention than they deserve in our Web efforts. The Web can be a vitally useful tool for these for researchers, helping them to find collaborators, recruit patients and publicize research results.
Operational goals. eHealth can be used to reduce the cost of communicating with patients, reduce transaction costs, reduce days receivables (get patients to pay their bills more quickly), and improve surgical suite utilization, plus the many, many other process efficiencies.
Questions to assess your Level 3 success
In order to make demonstrable change in outcomes that matter to your core business, you should be able to answer yes to the following questions:
Do we measure and monitor the impact that our eHealth initiatives have on patients in the following areas?
__Compliance with preventative measures
__Chronic disease management
__Adherence to care regimens
__Education on conditions that they face
Do we measure and monitor the impact that our eHealth initiatives have on our mission in the following areas?
__Reaching and serving underserved populations
__Grow charitable giving
Do we measure and monitor the impact that our eHealth initiatives have on our research in the following areas (for research institutions only)?
__Identifying and connecting researchers with collaborators
__Publicizing research efforts to health consumers
__Identifying and enrolling health consumers in clinical trials
__Sharing research results
__Promoting the research brand of the organization
__Grow research funding for the organization
How to reach Level 3 success
When you start thinking in terms of core business, it changes the approach you take to your eHealth initiatives. Because, let’s face it, as care delivery organizations, your ultimate purpose is not to have people visit your site or sign up for classes.
If you’re coming up short on the assessment, your next question is likely about what your hospital can do to make sure you’re measuring changes in outcomes. Geonetric’s eHealth Strategy team can help. Give us a call at 1-800-589-1171, and we’ll work with you and your team to get you on the track to eHealth success.
We’ll follow up with you in the coming weeks on the remaining levels of the eHealth Maturity Model. In the meantime, we’re open to your feedback. Let us know what you think.