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3 steps-model for the successful introduction of e-health

Even our deputy prime minister, Hugo de Jonge, is calling for more speed when it comes to e-health, for example, with home measuring. But where do you start? In this article, we provide an action plan to help you make the right choices with the current healthcare purchases for 2019.

This action plan is based on a combination of practice and science. I learned by trial and error during projects with both FocusCura and Luscii. I studied ICT implementations during my PhD at the University of Twente. This is how I discovered that successful implementations almost always follow a fixed pattern.

My most important lesson: a successful implementation is determined by the execution. The transformation of a dream into the reality of new daily care. Thomas Edison already said it best: “Vision without execution is hallucination”. So, let’s get started!

Preparation: define your dream and be specific

Start by making your dream concrete. Do you wish to give your clients more independence by staying at home with technology as an alternative to the care home? Do you, as a hospital, want to prevent unnecessary admittance for chronic patients?

You don’t have to come up with everything yourself, there are many good examples inside and outside the sector that can inspire you. Make your dream tangible for your organisation or department. Who are you doing it for and at what point will you consider it a success?

There is a big pitfall that I have often fallen into on this point. If you share your dream with care recipients and caregivers, you will notice that organisational limitations or financial restrictions will become the guiding principle. So, turn this around. Discuss your dream and find out whether they share it, but also show leadership to align the preconditions with your preferences.

Step 1: choose your partners and gain experienceNow it is time to involve others. Like the insurer. And partners that can offer competencies that you do not have. And no, in the year 2018 this is not the domain of the purchasing or IT department. It is a strategic choice. Does your partner already have agreements with insurers that you can take advantage of? Which partners can bring practical experience so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel? Choose a partner that suits your culture, as you are about to embark on a journey with one another.

Together, you begin with a proof of concept. As a first step to learn how your vision works in practice. At Luscii, we call this the experience phase. We approach the care process differently with around 25 care recipients by using our technology. That number is small enough to not have to disturb things too much. Yet it is still large enough for users to experience whether this will give them what they need. The dream comes to life and the caregivers involved become frontrunners, or idea champions, as I labelled them in my thesis.

After around four months, you can evaluate whether your idea works and create a follow-up plan to mix up the care path, which will involve financial agreements and technical integrations. If it appears in the evaluation that it does not work, then make alterations or stop. The latter sounds hard but I see many projects that remain dormant and that makes no sense. Show leadership in these cases and keep going, or stop and start again. If you continue, this also means that you choose not to keep the innovation free of obligation.

Step 2: continue and eliminate thresholds

Now that you are continuing, progress to around 150 users. This intermediate step is conscious. At this scale, it is impossible to do everything ‘on the side’, so your care path now changes completely. But with this intermediate step, you can keep the change manageable.

In this phase, you will invest more, for example, in a project leader or time for caregivers to work on new protocols, ICT integrations and/or training. Don’t be afraid to stick your neck out here, but also continue to measure whether you are achieving your goals.

At Luscii, we do this by measuring three-monthly parameters, such as satisfaction of patients and caregivers, reduction of clinic visits and admissions, and the amount of time Luscii saves for nurses. With the help of a ‘data dashboard’, you can monitor continuously and compare outcomes with data from other healthcare organisations. So that you can learn from one another.

Step 3: new service is a reality

Now you are ready to change the direction completely. If all has gone according to plan, you have now reached a critical number of care recipients and caregivers involved in shaping the new working method.

By making small interim steps, you have shifted from ‘innovator’ to ‘early majority’ in the innovation model. The ‘project’ is over and your new service has become a reality. Your idea champions, the caregivers of the first hour, are probably already eager for the next stage. In current times, innovation never stops. You will start step 1 again after step 3 is complete: constant innovation is the future for continually meeting the wishes of clients, employees and everyday reality.

The future is now

If you want more tools to make e-health a success, take a look at the Playbook that we made with Menzis or download my thesis. Do you have suggestions for improving the approach yourself? If so, I am very curious to hear your thoughts.

This blog was published earlier in Dutch on Qruxx tech: https://tech.qruxx.com/drie-stappen-voor-succesvolle-introductie-van-e-health/?_ga=2.15733042.529853116.1543238273-1213197350.1530525548