There’s a lot of shiny new healthtech emerging on the market. And rightly so. Though healthcare is innately innovative when it comes to understanding the underlying science to treating conditions, it remains tethered to legacy systems and still lags behind many other industries when it comes to using technology to improve experiences — for patients and care teams alike.
The truth is not every technology offers the same value. With such a wide array of new digital health tools hitting the scene — from AI-supported care management to voice recognition-powered recordkeeping — it can be difficult to discern effective solutions from applications that might not make sense in practice.
Let’s take a look at some common mistakes even the most experienced health service line leaders could make when considering a new digital healthcare platform for their care teams — and a few best practices for avoiding them.
1. Not bringing care teams and other key stakeholders into the conversation early enough
Administrators and clinicians often have different visions of how technology can best help their organizations. Leaders might have a better understanding of higher-level issues, while clinical staff have more hands-on experience with the everyday challenges that arise during care delivery. But where health system executives see practical shortcuts, clinicians could have rational concerns about how changes will alter or hinder their ability to deliver quality care.
That’s why service line leaders must consider both perspectives throughout the process — from discovery to implementation — to support buy-in, quicker adoption, and improved satisfaction for all staff members who will interact with the new technology. The good news is that many healthtech partners — like the team at Memora Health — can help you favorably position your proposal with everyone you need to bring to the table.
- Consult with your clinicians early in the scoping process to understand concerns and ensure any potential digital health platforms will address your team’s challenges without adding extra burden on their shoulders.
- Don’t sell to decision-makers alone! Ask your healthtech vendor to join collaborative discussions with executives to facilitate the evaluation process to ensure they understand the magnitude of the problem being addressed and the expected return on investment.
- Convene with peers across the organization to discuss the platform you're considering and check if they experience similar challenges that could be addressed by the same tool. If you can demonstrate multiple uses of a technology to decision-makers, you will have a higher likelihood of gaining their approval.
2. Choosing point solutions that only address one challenge
Some technologies might help patients manage their care journeys. Others might empower clinicians to do their jobs more effectively. But point solutions that focus on improving the care delivery experience for specific people or processes in a silo often only support one clinical service line, might not be compatible with existing workflows, could lead to more siloed approaches to care delivery, and ultimately might cause operational friction for care teams.
And if a digital healthcare technology doesn’t holistically support stakeholders across the care continuum, it could leave gaps that will need to be addressed later down the road by other costly — and limited — applications.
As resources become tighter and the healthcare landscape becomes more competitive, care teams will need tools with more comprehensive value and that help solve several issues within the care delivery ecosystem. That’s why it’s important to invest in a forward-thinking intelligent care enablement platform that addresses challenges for individuals receiving care, professionals delivering it, and beyond.
- Consider how digital health platforms might address multiple challenges for all stakeholders — patients, care teams, operational staff, and more across a longitudinal care journey.
- Assess existing point solutions and discuss how their functions could be consolidated by one comprehensive healthtech tool.
- Ask your healthtech vendor questions about whether — and how — their innovation integrates with your organization’s care management systems to ensure an optimal experience for your staff.
3. Attempting to bring in a new healthtech vendor without proof of ROI
At the end of the day, improving care delivery for your service line will require incremental resource allocation. That could mean hiring more staff or adopting new technology to improve clinical operations. Even as health systems focus on doing more with less, these investments will remain critical.
Given the current financial climate for health systems, every investment must generate a compelling return on investment (ROI). But how can service line directors actually assess ROI?
Partner closely with your healthtech vendors to align on key success criteria for the project, hone in on baseline metrics today, and determine the incremental improvements the collaboration will generate for your organization. Some standard questions you can ask before investing in your next digital healthcare platform include: How much time on average does your platform save care teams? Can you provide any case studies that outline how your technology boosted the bottom line? And how does your healthtech enable my organization to help more patients?
- Assess and understand your baseline efficiency and effectiveness metrics in areas like staffing, work hours, patient reach, and readmissions to help establish a starting point for understanding ROI.
- Take an iterative approach with your healthcare vendor to ensure the ROI is realistic and something you feel confident in delivering to your leadership team. Before moving forward, discuss your project within the context of your service line (e.g., oncology, maternity care, surgery) and ask exactly how the digital health company determines its technology’s ROI to ensure you select a partner with robust real-world experience.
- Be proactive and creative in finding funding. Every organization has its budget cycle, so be ready with sufficient ROI data when the time is right. You may also have success requesting funding off budget cycle with a compelling problem and business case, or by securing creative funding on your own (e.g. grant money).
4. Trying to go too big, too fast with new digital health innovations
It can be tempting to fast-track your new healthtech once you’ve identified an ideal partner, but there are a lot of risks with taking on too much at once and rolling a solution out too quickly.
A rushed implementation process could lead to more initial software hiccups. Care teams could find themselves feeling unprepared and frustrated when using the new, error-laden platform without proper training. Placing too much burden on your internal IT team to meet unrealistic expectations might exacerbate delays and friction. And all of this damages the successful adoption of the new product, creating new problems as people juggle emergent issues with daily responsibilities.
“Anytime we go live with a new process, we have our dashboards ready to go on day one. Not weeks and weeks later. On day one, we can see what’s happening … All we need is one fairytale from a clinician to crush something. The only anecdote to a fairytale is data.”
- Tarun Kapoor, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Transformation Officer, Virtua Health, Reimagining the Healthcare Journey for Today's Consumer
While it’s imperative to consider adopting technology that comprehensively addresses multiple pain points, it’s critical to be realistic about the time and resources it takes to implement, test, and adopt effective healthtech.
- Consider starting with a proof of concept or small-scale pilot to help your care teams get accustomed to new technology, work out the kinks, and prove value.
- Test, innovate, refine. Work with your healthtech partner to prepare and implement the new technology so that it’s ready for use the first day it rolls out.
- Don’t underestimate IT resource constraints. IT teams across the nation are struggling to keep up with the backlog of projects coming out of the pandemic. It’s critical to minimize the lift on their end (e.g., sFTP integration for the pilot) to ensure your project gets up and running as quickly and smoothly as possible.
No matter your service line, finding the right digital health platform to support your care teams can be challenging. By understanding where missteps can be made and how to preempt them, you may be able to make a better choice when selecting your next digital health platform and give your staff a smoother transition into using it.