Sunday 30 June 2019
Blog 1 of 5 from our Digital Innovation Framework series. This blog covers our learning from across multiple projects as an introduction to the framework.
This blog seeks to guide innovators through the definition of project objectives.
The ‘Defining outcomes’ section of our framework (see diagram below) lists some of the most common objectives digital innovation projects are designed to achieve:
Defining clear and measurable outcomes for the project before implementation is paramount. This might sound obvious, but we have observed that teams are often anxious to start delivering as soon as possible without ‘wasting any time’. Rushing into delivery often leads to inefficient use of time and resource further down the line. This normally happens because members of the same team or partners collaborating on a project don’t have a common understanding of what a given digital innovation is meant to achieve. This lack of clarity often means that teams are unable to put in place a set of metrics that would enable them to collect solid data and evidence impact effectively. We often observe a last-minute scramble for evidence which could easily be avoided by investing time in a clear project definition. Agreeing on a set of outcomes can help align efforts and resources on your team.
In our framework, we outline core outcomes areas that tend to be the focus of service digitalisation projects, in particular, costs savings, service improvement, personalisation and convenience. This can provide a starting point for practitioners to focus their discussions on project outcomes and impact.
Digitalisation can reduce emergency hospital admissions. Some admissions can be avoided through digital communication with health care professionals and new uses of advanced assistive technology for patients and timely access to the most up-to-date patient information for health and social care staff. Fewer admissions mean that care staff resource can be better managed and used.
Efficiencies are introduced by digitalisation, such as automated staff allocation leading to quicker transfers to services, like return to care homes. The cost of a visit could be reduced if undertaken via video call rather than a personal visit where appropriate to patient needs.
Accuracy in data collection; particularly for projects where data can be accessed and inputted at the source, could reduce medical errors and insurance payments. Allowing social care staff to have immediate access to key aspects of health information saves time across all services.
Digital platforms can be particularly effective in preventative care. Shifting cost of care from acute to community settings and from statutory services to self-care and prevention can generate high savings. Use of digital product can be monitored through usage data.
Digitalisation can improve convenience and flexibility of services. By not being tied to a specific location, service-users are able to access consultations from anywhere.
Through appropriate compliance with Information Guidance, patient information can be easily shared and accessed from across the system, which can encourage practitioners to develop holistic care plans.
Digital services often rely on outcome-focused and solution-driven approaches, placing patients’ individual needs at their core. This is achieved by ‘mixing technologies’, matching combinations of various technologies to meet a specific need.