1. Create objectives and a justification
A connected health program typically starts off with a pilot, says Khinlei Myint-U, corporate manager for product development and communications at PCCH. But one step that's sometimes overlooked is setting a focus and a goal for the pilot. For example, a feasibility pilot would look at the impact on workflow and how the program affects the patient, while a research pilot would examine outcomes and utilization. Whatever type of pilot you're considering, be mindful of what you want to learn from the outset, she says, and create specific learning objectives that are defined in the very first stages of the project.
Another piece of advice from Myint-U: Even if leaders don't ask, include a financial ROI measurement. Identify the drivers of costs and benefits not only for the pilot, but also for the final scaled program. Of course, as payment models change so will the value equation, so be prepared to revise your numbers.
One of the reasons to create objectives and build a justification for your project is to get stakeholders on board. Be very clear about those objectives, Myint-U advises.
In designing a program there are several questions to ask: Who will the program target, and how will you find and enroll patients? How do you relay the expectations to the patients? What is the role of clinicians? What data will you collect and who will monitor it?
3. Choose technologies and operational processes
A big challenge in choosing a vendor to help build the connected health program is that the concept—and the technology to support it—is so new, says Rob Havasy, project specialist and operations manager at PCCH. Investments in new technologies and adapting existing technology to support your connected health program is not inexpensive. Further, you must test your capabilities with an eye toward the final scaled project in mind. "We don't want to just run pilots," he says. "We want to change healthcare."