In the world of health care, executive leaders have a different concept of what makes a worthwhile investment. As Tom Gordon, Senior Vice President and CIO at New Jersey-based Virtua Health System explained in a recent Tribridge-sponsored webinar, traditional ROI metrics aren't the central focus of their technology initiatives. Instead, emphasizing a return on value is the primary mission for leaders in this sector, as more health systems are seeking recognition as Accountable Care Organizations and pursuing objectives aimed at boosting the quality of the client experience overall.
Redefining Digital Value
Calculating a pure ROI figure is nearly impossible in the health care sphere, as many implementations are coordinated without the express purpose of profit or cost savings. To ensure that they are pursuing investments, health care CIOs instead rely on sets of criteria established to determine the value of a given IT project. In his webinar, Gordon laid out the value structure upon which Virtua Health System has built its digital blueprint, highlighting the relative nature of these assessments. Since Virtua prioritizes ACO status, it follows that its value judgments reflect patient-centric goals. Here are a handful of attributes that a health care CIO should look for before putting any money down on an IT investment:
- The potential to improve the organization's quality of care and patient safety
- The ability to support evidence-based care and clinical integration efforts
- The power to increase patient engagement and care provider responsibility
- The contribution to a culture of continuous improvement and excellence
To support these standards and promote an ACO-approved service environment, Virtua reportedly created four distinct implementation groups designed to ensure the upkeep of best practices in each area. These teams included Transition of Care, Quality of Metrics, Care Redesign and Patient Engagement. Each squad was tasked with unique objectives, but eventually pooled their resources to develop the policies, procedures, workflow and IT infrastructure requirements that would underpin the next generation of Virtua's ACO contract.
Proactive Reform With IT
Rather than waiting for health care reform to determine its IT future, Virtua took preemptive initiative to orchestrate an infrastructure that would exceed the expectations of regulatory boards. By building its care coordination framework with the assistance of internal tech teams and third-party service providers, Virtua relied on a combination of IT consulting and in-house know-how to bring its operations into a new era of functionality and accountability.