The classic way to report on ROI is with numbers – money saved, or costs avoided – but there are no national guidelines as to what constitutes ROI in healthcare IT or how to measure it. So where do we start?

Why track ROI – Identifying clinical value

Over and above money saved, or costs avoided, the ultimate goal of any digital transformation project is to provide value to patient care. Ideally this will benefit both patient and clinician alike. Attempting to measure ROI will help to identify what the clinical value is and where in the patient’s journey it is needed. Key steps are to define what success looks like for each IT project, and to ensure that expectations, from the frontline to the board, are managed accordingly.  Everyone needs to agree what a successful project will deliver.

Driving change – how ROI is used in healthcare

Traditional ROI is viewed in financial terms, however, there comes a time when you simply can’t save any more money or avoid costs without the risk of incurring larger costs and/ or compromising safety, quality and experience at a later date sometimes referred to as the “costs of doing nothing”.  (For example, cutting back on the maintenance of equipment may save costs now, but could result in much higher repair or even replacement costs at a later date with an impact for patients and staff alike).

As well as helping to define the success of a project, ROI can also provide the metrics to inform and drive change management. By benchmarking and identifying value to the clinical process ROI can define a project’s priorities and timescales.  In this way ROI informs investment in technologies such as digital identity to optimise the use of clinical solutions and EPR, ensuring that the absolute best value is achieved.

Additional metrics that measure time available to ‘return to care’, where clinicians involved in a project need to take time out from caring can also be considered, for example, a change to a clinical workflow.

Should ROI in healthcare be broader?

ROI as a measure of the success of a project can be broadened to be more holistic, less easy to quantify benefits.  These include:

  • Lessening the cognitive load on clinicians (the constant requirement to log in/out and reauthenticate for every clinical application for each patient), giving full attention back to the patient.
  • Easier access to patient data, enabling clinicians to consume more data on which to base clinical decisions, potentially leading to better patient outcomes.
  • Increasing cybersecurity, so lessening the chance of a cyber-attack that could compromise sensitive patient information and cause serious disruption to clinical services.
  • Increased compliance with data privacy regulations.  Data breaches can result in untold distress on patients, as well as loss of confidence in the healthcare organisation.

Communicating Success – Benefits of approaching ROI from multiple viewpoints

Imprivata takes a multidisciplinary team approach to any digital identity project. The unique capability of having a team that includes clinical and product specialists means that clinical insights are combined with product and backend metrics.  This means that ROI information can be presented to different audiences that provides the value they needed.  For example, senior leadership/board level need the cold hard financials, whereas clinical leadership are perhaps more interested in how clinical workflows are affected, time saved for clinicians and patient outcomes.

By understanding the problems to be solved, and defining in advance what success looks like, the team is far more likely to achieve that success and be able to communicate that success to key stakeholders.

Ready for your own ROI assessment, customised to your organisation? Read more here  ROI Imprivata Onesign | Imprivata or request a demo