How Should We Measure The Value of Health IT?

Ask most doctors and they will tell you that EMRs and other digital health products, like telemedicine platforms, are more of a problem than a solution and that they fail to see the benefits.

Ask most doctors and they will tell you that EMRs and other digital health products, like telemedicine platforms, are more of a problem than a solution and that they fail to see the benefits.

Most just see the high costs and workflow disruption telemedicine cause and have a hard time seeing the ROI. For those writing big HIT checks, HIT is seen as a cost center, not a profit center.

Perhaps they are not seeing the forest for the trees. HIT is a tool and a means towards clinical and business ends. Consequently, how you measure the return on investment, and whether you consider it a cost center or a profit center depends on how you define and measure clinical and business outcome metrics.

For the promise of a positive ROI in HIT, several things need to happen:

Take a seat at the table. White coats need to be at the table, not just suits.

Align with broader strategy and goals. Mission driven clinical goals need to harmonize with profit driven business goals and marketing goals.

Eliminate the noise. Workflow should be simpler, not more complicated.

Drive accountability and communication. Who are those IT people, anyway?

Leverage the intelligence. Connect the dots. Stop adding more dials on the dashboards. Simplify, and just give us the information we need to do what doctors do.

IT’s true impact on the bottom line and the business should be measured by the results, efficiencies and outcomes it helps deliver, whether or not the CIO manages to a formal P&L each month.

Having a good quarter on the P/L might earn you a bonus, but it might not do much to help doctors take care of their patients.