Return on investment in EHR: Impossible to calculate?
We treat the difficulties that face Healthcare Organizations when quantifying the ROI of the Electronic Health Record implementation.
Healthcare Organizations need to know not only how much to invest, but during how much time and, above all, what will be the expected benefit of such investment.
It is remarkable how a financial term like ROI (Return of Investment), something widely known and relatively simple to calculate in certain industries, is so complicated to quantify in Healthcare Organizations that implement Electronic Health Records (EHR).
The truth is that given the current panorama and the advances in information technology applications in the healthcare industry, most organizations are aware of the need to update their information systems and that this requires what people in the world of finance call “investment”. This brings about the need for the organization to calculate not only how much money to invest, but also for how long, and most importantly, what the expected return on the investment is going to be.
This is usually when the project “sponsors” in the organization start looking at each other asking, “How on earth am I going to answer these ‘technical’ questions?” The easiest and fastest thing to do is to limit answers exclusively to tangible concepts like cost savings, acquisitions, and other basic elements that both CFOs and investment committees can easily understand. After that, all that’s left is the long wait for the approval of the investment so they can start choosing an EHR.
But So if it’s not like that, why only conduct financial or quantitative assessments to justify the system upgrades? The answer to this is equally simple: conducting qualitative assessments and impact studies requires preparation, expertise and developmental maturity that many organizations lack. Until recently, qualitative indicators were never reflected in the year-end statements of most organizations.
These qualitative aspects, such as increased patient safety, fewer readmissions, improvement in patient-perceived quality, fewer allergic reactions to drugs or fewer adverse events on patients, belong to a long list of quality indicators that can now be analyzed. And they make the difference between financial ROI and Health ROI, or as I like to call it, RIL (Return in Lives).
The RIL allows Healthcare Organizations to establish criteria to analyze their investment in three main areas. These key areas are: Patient Information, Clinical Safety and Optimization of Resources. The quantitative and qualitative aspects are interrelated because each and every qualitative element has its quantitative impact.
So it is time to ask yourself if your organization is seeking ROI or RIL, and how EHR products that incorporate this methodology for calculating the RIL, like the ehCOS Suite and its EHR product ehCOS CLINIC, can help you achieve the goal of differentiating your organization through personalized patient care.