Optimization and ROI on HIT Investments
By Dave Vreeland
During HIMSS 13, our company had the privilege of bringing together a select group of HIT executives from some of the nation’s leading health systems for a breakfast discussion. The food was impeccable thanks to Chef Donald Link. The topic was measuring and maximizing ROI on HIT investments.
While incentive dollars offer a simple measure of ROI on the revenue side of the ledger, this represents only one aspect of the substantial benefits clinical systems can yield. The takeaway: a proper optimization program with broader consideration for the projects comprising it can bring a truly positive return to healthcare organizations over a 10-15 year period if properly considered and executed.
Since the passage of HITECH four years ago, we’ve seen vast deployment of clinical information systems across the country, many of which were highly accelerated in the rush to meet Meaningful Use and other regulatory deadlines. We’ve also seen these accelerated implementation projects, both successful and troubled, spawn subsequent optimization efforts, some focused on resolving original implementation issues and some focused on achieving benefits that could not have been anticipated earlier and became evident only after a wide audience of end users was actively working within the system.
We have learned whether an organization approached its baseline implementation strategically, with a focus on workflow and clinical quality goals, or took a more tactical approach targeted toward achieving minimal Meaningful Use and maximizing HITECH incentive payments, is unimportant in the broader scheme of things. The key lesson is that an overall program of work that includes a well-executed, relatively rapid initial clinical system implementation followed by a program of closely monitored optimization projects will maximize the financial return and other benefits.
Over breakfast, we shared a number of lessons learned when it comes to measuring the return on HIT investments:
- Implementing clinical information systems is a significant investment that brings significant value.
- Models to accurately reflect both the costs and the return on these technologies are developing, but this work is complex.
- In order truly maximize the return on these investments, healthcare organizations must view the implementation effort more broadly and make optimization an organizational-wide operation.
- Optimization is critical in achieving a return on HIT investments.
Dave Vreeland is a partner with Cumberland Consulting Group of Franklin, TN.