May 22, 2013 Leave a comment
Some troubling results were published in the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions 2013 Survey of U.S. Physicians. In it, 70% of doctors said that they think use of health IT tools ultimately will cost more, not less, and that the promise of reduced costs due to increased use is inflated. Upfront cost was the most popular roadblock standing in the way of those who participated in the study and did not currently have an electronic health record system. That concern makes perfect sense, but it takes a realization and recognition of long-term savings and workflow benefits to truly understand why these technologies are necessities in the healthcare environment.
Successful implementation of these technologies is dependent on both the vendor and the health organization and its professionals. It takes a true partnership to design a solution that meets both the technological and financial needs of the organizations. As an example, I know that we at Carestream have seen cost savings when working with Houston Medical Imaging (HMI) on installing the MyVue patient portal. A close partnership with HMI allowed for a seamless migration to the technology, resulting in an intuitive user experience and estimated cost saving of up to $15,000 per year using MyVue after its initial installation.
These savings are of course going to differ from organization to organization. The key components that must be remembered when implementing healthcare IT to involve the following:
Think long-term benefits over short-term costs. There is always going to upfront costs associated with projects involving installations, be it hardware or software. Working with your vendor to perform the proper calculations before the project will provide an idea of what initial costs will be and how the money will be earned back over the months and years after installation.
Look into cloud-based or vendor-hosted solutions. These offerings turn heavy upfront capital investment into more predictable operational costs. This makes financial tracking easier to manage, and also results in fewer time and personnel investments when it comes to conducting technological updates and other maintenance issues.
Bring in your financial teams from the beginning. Partnering with the finance department can help keep the project grounded and set on a realistic timeline. Consistent communication between IT and finance can allow for a more astute analysis of the financial impact of the project and the technology’s usage trends.
For more information about healthcare IT and usage patterns, the podcast below focuses on patient engagement and adoption trends among medical professionals and patients.