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12 Steps to Accelerate Physician Adoption of Digital Strategies

By Mandy Roth  
   November 09, 2018

AMA Playbook helps physicians and health systems overcome barriers to implementation and achieving scale.

In an age of disruptive innovation, there are a lot of great ideas to transform healthcare, yet tremendous difficulty implementing digital strategies among physicians. The American Medical Association (AMA) has done something to change that dynamic with the Digital Health Implementation Playbook.

“Accelerating the pace of digital health adoption requires an efficient and proven path to success, but best practices are not widely shared," says Michael Hodgkins, MD, AMA chief medical information officer. "The Playbook responds to a growing demand for proven guidance that physicians and care teams need to successfully integrate effective digital solutions into practice.”

Designed for health system administrators, physicians, and caregivers, and available at no charge, the resource guides users through 12 steps to navigate the process and achieve scale. It address four requirements—revealed through AMA research—that physicians need to successfully adopt digital health solutions into their practices:

  • Does it work?
  • Will I receive payment?
  • Will I be liable?
  • Will it work in my practice?

“Implementing digital health technology can be complicated and time-consuming," says Hodgkins. "On average, it takes hospitals 23 months to go from identifying a digital innovation need to scaling a solution to meet that need. The Playbook’s roadmap will help physicians and care teams adopt change faster and more successfully.”

The guidebook includes key steps, best practices, and resources to accelerate and achieve digital health adoption. Content will evolve over time. The first six steps are fundamental to the implementation of any digital health solution. The subsequent six steps focus on specific solutions—currently addressing Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) which uses devices, trackers ,and sensors to capture and record patient-generated health data outside of the traditional clinical environment. RPM provides clinicians the opportunity to improve management of chronic disease and engage patients in their own care.

12 Steps to Accelerate Digital Strategies

Following are random tips selected from each section of the Playbook, providing a glimpse into the array of insights offered:

  • Step 1: Identify a Need. If you are affiliated with another practice or health system, explore how they might support your implementation with existing programs and/or technology.
  • Step 2: Form the Team. Consider who will be most impacted by the new technology— including staff and patients—and solicit feedback early on.
  • Step 3: Define Success. Aligning your goals to the quadruple aim of healthcare will be an advantage when seeking approval and resources later in the process.
  • Step 4: Evaluate the Vendor. Attending health care technology conferences like HIMSS (and local HIMSS chapters), TEDMED, Connected Health, Health 2.0 or Rock Health; collaborating with a health care accelerator or incubator; or leveraging the AMA’s Physician Innovation Network13 to connect with one of 400+ companies, can expose you to possible vendors and practical solutions.
  • Step 5: Make the Case. Research coding and payment available for your chosen digital health solution.
  • Step 6: Address Contracting. Ensure your partner has the inventory and resources to keep up with your organization’s size and expected scaling speed. While there are many benefits to working with a startup, this is a particularly important area to align on upfront.
  • Step 7: Design the Workflow. EHR integration is vital to the long-term success of your new RPM program. Failure to integrate can lead to staff frustration and lower adherence to new procedures, so discuss the possibilities for integrating the RPM solution and your EHR with your vendor as soon as possible.
  • Step 8: Prepare the Care Team. When bandwidth is limited, consider partnering with your vendor to provide in-person educational sessions and training materials.
  • Step 9: Partner with the Patient. Help patients understand the difference between technical and clinical concerns, and provide direct vendor contact information for technical concerns, if possible.
  • Step 10: Implement. Set up weekly feedback sessions with your vendor, IT, and care teams.
  • Step 11: Evaluate Success. It may take six months or longer to prove the clinical results of your program. In the meantime, lean on more immediate measures of success, such as staff and patient satisfaction, to confirm if the program is having an impact.
  • Step 12: Scale. Prevent creating siloed programs requiring similar, yet separate, resources. Instead, standardize the RPM across your organization.

The Playbook was designed with input from more than 80 physicians, care team members, healthcare administrators, and digital health thought leaders.

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.

Photo credit: iStock Photo

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