Business case for eHealth

Terry Osborne, Marketing Manager for O2 Health talks about building the business case for eHealth.

Telehealth and telecare are proven to work. They can cut emergency admissions, visits to A&E and mortality rates. With these facts it’s not surprising that many Health Professionals and the team at O2 Health are frustrated at the pace of implementation.

There are some obvious barriers in the way, which I firmly believe could be lessened with strong collaboration and sharing of best practices across the public and private sectors. As highlighted in a new report by the Digital Policy Alliance in the House of Commons, chaired by Stephen Dorrell MP, the main barrier is that it’s hard to make a business case for the technologies.

This is because the organisation bearing the cost is often not the one receiving the benefit. Telecare and telehealth support patients to remain at home, live independently for longer and avoid hospital admissions. This is fantastic for the patient and saves hospitals precious resources. But hospitals are not the organisations paying for the technology – it is GP practices and adult social service departments.

That’s why at O2 Health we work with care providers to build the business case, illustrate the benefits and show the real return on investment. This can include savings made through less residential care, reduced need for travel and more efficient ways of supporting patients.

It’s also important to focus on joined-up services and patient outcomes, and build the case from this point of view – not just a financial one.

We forget at our peril the cost to society of not making the investment; If we don’t deal with the issues raised by an aging population and the growing need to cut costs, the care system could bankrupt local government – even the country.

Understanding the wider possibilities of eHealth and its impact on the health and care system as a whole is key to counteracting the reluctance to invest in technologies. We’ve seen the effect that technology has had on people’s lives from our trials.

We are investing significant effort to ensure that the possibilities of technology supporting health is fully understood by care providers; so that they are best placed to make the right decisions for all of us!