Cost-effective technology partnerships are always a top consideration for healthcare organizations, and the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the need for health leaders to spend wisely.
As the collection and measurement of patient-reported outcomes is central to innovative clinical care, health leaders know launching and maintaining a PRO program is essential. The question, however, is how can organizations launch the program cost-effectively?
Cost Considerations for Launching a PRO Program
To holistically consider the cost of a patient-reported outcomes program, health leaders need to explore both the up-front and maintenance expenses required for either building a program internally or partnering with a third-party solution.
- Upfront Costs
Up-front costs can be segmented into three primary categories:
o Program Design: The time and resources required to design an outcomes program that successfully meets the needs of a diverse group of stakeholders.
o PRO Licenses: Acquiring the necessary licenses to administer patient-reported outcome surveys, such as the PROMIS assessments.
o Custom EHR Build & Ensuring the IT resources needed to:
◉ Build outcome surveys and other custom forms
◉ Integrate the program across various EHR modules
◉ Build the reporting needed to measure the program’s success
The size of investment needed to do this effectively is often surprising to healthcare organizations. For example, the Mayo Clinic spent $1.5 million over five years to establish an outcomes program within neurosurgery alone. An enterprise-wide program would be a significantly greater investment.
- Maintenance Costs
Maintenance costs are difficult to quantify on the front-end and, as a result, these costs are often understated or occasionally neglected entirely. However, regardless of the investment made on the front-end of launching an outcomes program, there will always be future maintenance. These maintenance costs most commonly stem from the need to
o Modify Existing Workflows: Once the program has been deployed, healthcare providers and administration will inevitably identify ways to improve upon what has been built to unlock incremental value.
o Create New Workflows / Order Sets: As described above, organizations often need to create new workflows or order sets. Expanding the program to better target a patient population with a specific diagnosis or prescribed treatment enables the organization to create a more personalized experience for the patient and unlocks valuable insights for the organization.
o Enhance Business Intelligence: Most organizations wish to continue to enhance reporting and dashboard capabilities to generate easy-to-consume and actionable insights. This level of customization can be costly.
Cost is only one factor to deciding whether to deploy a PRO program internally or through the use of a third-party solution. Other considerations include:
- Speed to deployment
- Technical Requirements and expertise
We explore these considerations in the white paper, “Build vs. Buy: Launching an Integrated Patient-Reported Outcomes Program."