How to generate a 15X return on Patient Engagement

Patient Engagement is hot, but how do you measure its impact? Specifically, when a health system offers mobile engagement tools to its patient community, how should it measure the return on the investment of the launch and maintenance of the initiative?

Many health systems missed the opportunity to formulate an ROI for their EHR deployments. (Who am I kidding? How does one generate a positive ROI on a software system that can cost over $100M to purchase and deploy?)

In the long term, patient engagement may be more strategic to the profitability of a health system than is its EHR infrastructure. This post summarizes the return on investment (ROI) of patient engagement initiatives through three components: readmissions reduction, HCAHPS improvement and its impact on the CMS value-based purchasing program, and improved patient loyalty.



A well-executed patient engagement program should simultaneously deliver returns from all three of those scenarios:


Return from Readmission Reduction $1,250,000
Return from HCAHPS improvement (via Value-Based Purchasing) $441,000
Return from increased Patient Loyalty $800,000
Total Return $2,491,600


ROI = 1,561% 


Show Your Math

These values are based on certain assumptions about hospital characteristics and the cost of a patient engagement program. In a series of posts, we provide a detailed breakdown of how each these figures were calculated: 

The ROI of Patient Engagement: Readmissions Reduction

The ROI of Patient Engagement: HCAHPS and Value-Based Purcasing

The ROI of Patient Engagement: Patient Loyalty



Patient engagement is strategic ground that the best health systems will claim in order to thrive in a profit-from-quality world. Mobile devices are quickly making an impact on how patients manage their health. For a health system, not having a mobile engagement offering in 2013 may be similar to not having a corporate website in 2003. Whether healthcare systems and practices are motivated by higher margin patients, professional reputation, payment incentives - or all three - they have everything to gain from enabling superior patient engagement and everything to lose if they do not.