Hospitals frequently use information technology services and products from large, blue-chip corporations like Epic Systems Corp. or McKesson Corp. But as they hunt for apps that can help them monitor and engage patients in the months following discharge, they are dealing with a whole new world comprised of many, small startups.
Many of these companies' wares have a limited track record. And the firms themselves sometimes lack stable funding.
And, the gee-whiz techies behind the app usually haven't developed valid metrics for evaluating its capabilities. Measures like readmission rates or cost-per-patient are too broad for determining the value of a post-discharge monitoring tool.
“We need to prove what works” before scaling it across the entire system, said Dr. Zenobia Brown, a medical director at Northwell Care Solutions in Great Neck, N.Y.
Hospitals are looking for post-discharging monitoring technology so they can remain financially viable in the services being thrown into Medicare's new bundled payment programs. Nearly 800 hospitals are now responsible for patients' clinical and financial outcome 90 days after being discharged for a hip or knee replacement. If they fail to hit a target price set by the CMS, they will lose money on the entire episode of care.