Buyer's Guide: How to Evaluate Episode of Care Technology
By Aug. 7, 2018
With value on the rise, healthcare is reaching a tipping point. Patients and paying stakeholders are demanding more for less, putting pressure on providers to cut costs. Outpatient procedures and shortened time in the hospital require greater control of the home. And initiatives for strategic improvement are not possible without useful cost and quality metrics.
Technology is the answer. Leading organizations understand the opportunity digital solutions have to offer and are acting quickly to future-proof their service lines and stay ahead of curve.
But with tremendous opportunity comes a scrambled vortex of products and platforms, all with seemingly the same message. Until the market thins out, and the best solutions become clear, below are evaluation tactics and questions to guide you in finding the right technology to support your organization.
Is it comprehensive?
Is your organization using five different platforms or portals to solve one challenge? You’re not alone. Instead, find one that creates a complete care continuum by asking-
- Which organizations have used the platform to augment or replace traditional post-acute rehab services?
- Are average PROs collection rates greater than 80%? If so, does this include one-, three-, and five-year outcomes?
- Which product features will help virtually navigate patients? Is there evidence showing positive impacts on care team efficiency?
- Are there additional fees associated with any features or services?
The whole is greater than the sum of the parts -- by finding one solution that meets these requirements, you’ve probably found a solution better than any combination of point solutions.
Is it validated?
Too often, we’re drawn to the ‘latest and greatest’ technology (bells and whistles included). With patients at risk, it’s important to look past the virtual reality goggles and motion tracking hardware and simply ask-
- Who uses this? [i.e. tell me about five of your clients]
- Which clients have had 1000+ patients use the technology?
- Have any clients expanded use of the technology based on results? If so, which ones, and what was the scope of expansion?
- Do research studies exist that show efficacy of this product?
Essentially, you do not want to be the lone runner ahead of the pack. Be risk-averse by letting your peers do the talking. You get what you pay for, so be wary of free trials or strategic partnerships.
Will this technology fit the specific needs of my organization?
Don’t spend tons of time and money changing your existing infrastructure to fit your purchase. Your organization is unique, which your bolt-on solutions should reflect. Adding or subtracting responsibility or workflow disrupts what you’ve already worked hard to build. Optimize and streamline what you have by asking-
- How are Care Team workflows and pathways configured, and what is the post-go-live support model?
- How is patient onboarding and ongoing support handled?
- Will I be forced to integrate it with my EMR? Do I have the option to integrate?
- Are reports catered for my use cases (registries, business analytics, etc.)?
- What is required on my end from a technical standpoint?
Evidence-based change is only possible when you’ve reached a certain level of efficiency. Without customizable tech and ongoing customer support, it’s nearly impossible to move past the inevitable growing pains.
Is it substantive?
“Digital health” is a buzzword, and until we’re comfortable enough asking the hard questions, it will remain so. At the end of the day, your purchasing decisions reflect your business, so be curious to no end, and passionate about what matters most to your organization. Check every box, then check them again. The clinical and financial outcomes are worth the investment.