A major factor for justifying investment in new technology solutions for healthcare is understanding what benefits will result from the investment. Will the return on that investment sufficiently offset the costs and effort associated with licensing and implementing it? Calculating return on investment (ROI), however, is not a set formula. Many factors could be included in an ROI model, so the first important step is to define what matters most and adds the most value for your organization.

The Definition of ROI for Your Organization

If revenue is a top priority for your organization, a technology solution needs to help you increase your patient volume, prevent leakage, reduce cost of care and avoid penalties.

Improving operational efficiency may be the most important outcome for some organizations, so technologies that can impact staff productivity, maximize facility capacity, reduce late cancelations and no shows, and reduce phone calls will deliver the greatest value.

For some healthcare providers, patient satisfaction is at the top of the list. If that’s the case, a digital health platform will need to help you improve outcomes, build loyalty and trust, and inspire positive online reviews.

These are general areas where you can impact costs, so once you’ve identified if any or all of these matter to your organization you can start to think about a framework to evaluate a digital health solution to ensure it will fit your ROI expectations.

What Factors Might Have Unintended ROI Consequences?

It’s important to think about what levers can have the biggest impact on your bottom line. If you are still in a primarily fee-for-service payment model, increasing patient volumes and controlling leakage can probably make a significant improvement in revenue generation, whereas providers more focused on value-based care models will want tools that help them control costs and ensure patient satisfaction. For many organizations, they have a foot in each world, so they have to consider the quality and quantity of healthcare services they provide. 

A rapidly growing concern for many healthcare organizations is the ability to meet new consumer expectations for digital access to care. Maintaining market share is only going to get tougher as disruptors continue to emerge and meeting expectations may depend on how well you provide access to comprehensive virtual care services.

Calculating Return on Investment

We know margins are thin and you want to have confidence that your patient engagement solution will generate the promised return on clinical, financial and operational outcomes. Learn more about our approach to achieving strong ROI.

Planning for the Future

There are a number of pressures and significant uncertainties for healthcare providers today, including shifting reimbursement models, an aging population, growing provider shortage, and new consumer expectations, so planning for the future is a must. Finding a flexible platform and an innovative technology partner is essential.

CMS and many other payers continue to move toward value-based care models. That will mean more pressure on providers to deliver comprehensive care and tertiary services without adding costs or in some cases lowering costs. Even if you are in a primarily fee-for-service model today, having the infrastructure in place to deliver better care with the same resources will be important.

In addition to changing payment models, patients are changing too. Patient needs are becoming more complex and a high value technology platform will allow you to meet these challenges: an aging population that will add to an already overburdened healthcare system, an increasing number of patients with chronic conditions, and new consumer demands requiring seamless, digital access to care.

A Final Consideration: Meaningfully Engaging Patients

At Twistle, we know that any patient engagement technology will not deliver ROI if patients don’t also see value for themselves and their family (read more about that here), but it will also fail to deliver results if it is not accessible for most patients. The number of patients in the United States over the age of 65 is growing rapidly and access to technology is at risk of being a new social determinant of health. So while technology is going to be essential for healthcare providers to do more with less – it must also be accessible to patients who are less tech savvy or are economically disadvantaged.

Make sure your technology solution meets patients where they are and can benefit patients even without a smartphone app or broadband internet. Ensure that you are ready to not only meet your needs today, but also be ready to adapt to unknown future requirements.

If you need help figuring out what the return on your investment in digital health technology should be, contact Twistle at info@twistle.com.

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