Friday, March 14, 2014

I Wonder How Hard It Might Be To Sell The Concept Of a Soft ROI For E-Health.

This popped up a little while ago and intrigued me.

'Soft' ROI holds sway in health IT

Posted on Jan 31, 2014
By John Andrews, Contributing Writer
Hard numbers for return on investment in health IT aren’t always measurable, at least in a direct way. Instead, healthcare organizations need to look at both “hard” and “soft” savings when considering a system’s ROI.
“There are many areas where it is difficult to assign a hard dollar figure for savings,” said Dean Wiech, managing director for Lynbrook, N.Y.-based Tools4ever. “A lot of times quantifying savings is more about looking at cost avoidance.”
Tools4ever produces identity management and security software along with professional consulting services for healthcare organizations. Its objective is to provide customers with safe, secure and simplified procedures for accessing IT systems, Wiech said, which can pay dividends in myriad ways.
“Most of our customers can cost justify their expenses based on the time they spend opening, deleting and managing accounts,” he said. “Time is money.”
The time element for identity management and system security relates to user productivity on the system, Wiech said. With single sign-on for individual users, the time spent logging on, managing passwords and accessing authorized information can save up to 15 minutes per session, per user. That adds up tremendously over the course of a shift and a day, he said.
And while it usually ends up as “soft dollar savings,” Wiech said the protection of patient data from unauthorized users and system intruders results in trouble avoidance and peace of mind for administrators.
“Eliminating multiple log-ins and passwords is an intangible savings factor, but still significant,” he said. “If someone’s password card is lost and found by the wrong person, it could mean a costly security breach. It also means a loss of productivity because the person who lost the password card has to contact the help desk, who then has to reset those passwords. That is lost time.”
Identity management and security have become priorities among healthcare providers.
“People are waking up and seeing the need for these tools,” Wiech said. “They’ve done things manually for so long they now realize there are better ways. What’s more the cost of installation is about one-fourth of what it cost 10 years ago.”
Lots more here:
What to people think of this idea a ‘Soft Return On Investment (ROI)’ . Is it that some benefits are so hard to measure that they can only guessed at or is it some attempt to con the bean counters into spending money where the benefit of the expenditure is pretty suspect.
Of course there is also the issue of just how hard it can be to pin down the benefits of really effective systems as they actually transform many of the things happening around them and the outlying impacts are very hard to even estimate and often even recognise.  As an example how would you figure out what use of the Vocera voice badge communication system might benefit a hospital?
It is clear there are real benefits - but looking at their web-site the hard dollar and cent benefits do not leap out. What does leap out is how happy the users seem to be and how effective the technology is at facilitating communication!
See here:
Another issue is just a ROI is softish should not mean an attempt to achieve and measure it should not be undertaken - that would have to just be a cop out!
What do you reckon?
David.

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