Friday, January 14, 2011

The Return on Investment for Mobile Computing in Healthcare

Ah, the age old question, "What's the return on investment?"

Mobile access involves chunking, transforming, and securely delivering visually compelling data from the hospital computing environment to a mobile device using a native application when providers need to make timely diagnosis and treatment decisions - regardless of their physical location. Hence, the benefits of mobile computing are primarily a function of logistics and ubiquity.

The return on investment for meaningful mobile technology in healthcare can and should be measured. There are three areas to consider when evaluating the return on investment for mobile computing. Each mobile solution or application should be expected to have a unique impact in each of these areas.
  1. Strategic - How the technology will be used to help achieve greater organizational goals and objectives;
  2. Clinical – Anticipated improvements or gains in quality, structure, and process of care delivery capabilities and better patient outcomes;
  3. Financial – The cascade of benefits caused by increased workflow efficiency and improved communication, including those from the strategic and clinical impact areas.
 For example, the financial return on investment for our AirStrip OB product was traditionally measured in the reduction of medical malpractice claims exposure and experience stemming from our ability to target 64% of the losses to a typical insurance program. We subsequently learned that it also reduced physician splitter behavior, improved nursing efficiency, enhanced clinician job satisfaction, and improved physician assessment of nurse competency. Furthermore, first-to-market campaigns have influenced hospital market share by impacting patient and community perceptions of care.

Additional benefits our clients are seeing - and seeking – with mobility include:
  • Acceleration of meaningful use objectives, in particular those involving physician adoption
  • Enhanced performance of core measures, with greater reimbursement potential
  • Elimination of geographic barriers to care and infrastructure to support accountable care organization service delivery
  • Improved physician and nursing workflow logistics, communication, teamwork, and greater productivity.
  • Better patient throughput and improved satisfaction.
We use financial modeling tools and processes to help our clients predict the return on investment for each of our products based upon their specific circumstances. Cost reductions and revenue enhancements should be considered along with other benefits, such as patient safety, which is even more important yet difficult to quantify. We are learning that many evidence-based measures can be useful in analyzing performance before and after mobile technology adoption to confirm and validate (or disprove) the original impact prediction.

No matter how you slice and dice it, "mobile computing done right", something we call "meaningful mobility" can produce a significant return on investment with far-reaching benefits for patients and providers.