Telecare services will expand over coming years. Projects in many countries are now well underway. They can offer patients, carers, healthcare professionals and organisations significant benefits, but stories of successes are not always the outcome. Many tales of neutrality and failure, and are published regularly, showing that investment plans and preparations were limited in their rigour and realism.
These limitations are avoidable. TanJent has been evaluating actual and planned investment in many EU Member States and other countries for many years, and has built up a base of knowledge of socio-economic impacts (SEI) that can steer telecare, telemedicine and telehealth investment in sound directions that deliver sustainable measurable benefits that exceed the investment costs over time; a net benefit.
Examples of factors that must be included are realistic timescales to reach a net benefit, often longer than people expect, the resources needed to develop and change existing services, and the impact of risks. Examples of features that to avoid are people expecting healthcare professionals to use telecare at an unrealistically high rate, and then expect significant benefits over timescales that are too short. Assessing these in advance needs appropriate modelling of the overall SEI.
Creating viable, realistic telecare investment can rely on proven modelling that TanJent has developed and used since 2001. Since then, over 40 different settings have used versions of TanJent’s’ models, including ten sites in two major EC projects, and available at www.ehealth-impact.org and www.ehr-impact.eu. The aim is to identify and evaluate the conditions that lead to an optimum SEI and within this, identify the financial and financing impact on the main health and social care organisations, essentially the returns on their investments (ROI). Too many decisions rely on the more limited ROI assessments and miss the more important SEI.
From these, decisions can be modelled, structured, realistic, monitored and modified as needed. The SEI models used a combination of findings from existing investment and the requirements of the planned investment. Completing the SEI decision models is rapid, leaving decision-takers to deal with the core factors that can lead to success and avoid a lesser outcome. This knowledge then remains with people in the organisations providing services to patients and carers.
Tom Jones FRSA FRSM
0044 (0) 7802 336 229
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