Blog Contributed By Best Buy Health

As more healthcare moves into patients’ homes, it’s becoming increasingly important to define, measure, and evaluate these programs. Dr. Juliana Pugmire, Senior Research Scientist at Current Health, a Best Buy Health company, explains how to approach this challenge, where to start, and how to contribute to the growing body of research dedicated to advancing the safety and efficacy of care at home.  

Table of Contents

Tip 1: Start now

There is a terrific advantage to building an evaluation from the beginning of your program. This preparation can have an impact on the quality of your data, your results, and your findings. But if your program is already underway, it’s not too late! Gain a deep understanding of your program’s goals, target audience, and the specific conditions in which it operates. This knowledge will help you determine what works, for whom, in which circumstances, and why. 

Tip 2: Identify your key data points

Start with your program’s stated purposes (reducing readmissions, increasing capacity, etc.). Data sources to consider are:

  • Demographics and clinical history 
  • Program and technology adherence, which is a good proxy for how acceptable patients find the technology 
  • Patient-level outcomes (such as changes in weight or blood pressure)
  • Population-level outcomes (like readmission rates) 
  • Comparator data, which could include different cohorts of patients who did or did not receive an intervention, historical or national data 
  • Cost and revenue data, including operational costs and labor costs. Consider different cost metrics, such as bed days saved or length of stay, to evaluate cost savings. Ensure proper comparison groups when calculating cost savings.

Tip 3: Don’t forget qualitative data

Qualitative data, says Dr. Pugmire, “Provide insights into ‘how’ something is happening and ‘why’ it might be happening, while quantitative data describes ‘what’ is happening.” Qualitative measures are a great way to capture patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives. When possible, integrate your patient-facing questionnaires your care-at-home technology.

Remember, you don’t need to measure all of these to get started or deliver meaningful insights about your program. Start with the top priorities as they align with your program’s goals.  

Tip 4: Track down your data

Does the data you want to analyze already exist in your organization, and if so, where? Much of your desired data will likely be housed in your EPR/EHR. For these, you may need a report created for your tracking purposes. Other key care-at-home data may be easily accessible within program-specific tools.  

Tip 5: Articulate expectations

“Is this good?” This question can be challenging if you still need to align on what key stakeholders expect to see in your care-at-home program. Your initial benchmark may be the results the bricks-and-mortar services see. Connecting with other care-at-home leaders can help add nuance and adjustment to established benchmarks designed for traditional models of care. 

Tip 6: Establish a data review practice

Determine the cadence and stakeholders for reviewing your program’s data. Ensure you include clinical, operational, and technical leaders, and discuss the story your data tell. Then put your data into context for your governing body and make a case for how and what you think could help your program continue to improve and grow.  

Evaluating digital health programs is essential for assessing their effectiveness, value, and impact on patient outcomes and healthcare systems. The massive growth in the digital health sector and the diversity of worldwide solutions call for rigorous evaluation to identify what works, for whom, and under what circumstances. While traditional evaluation methods may not always align with the dynamic nature of software development, using real-world evidence provides an opportunity to gather meaningful insights. 

To successfully evaluate digital health programs, it is crucial to consider patient preferences and safety, identify appropriate outcomes, and engage the relevant stakeholders, including healthcare providers, leaders, and clinical champions. Moreover, building an evaluation from the start enables high-quality data collection, yielding robust results and findings. By adhering to best practices in program evaluation, healthcare organizations can support the growth of virtual wards and digital healthcare solutions, contribute to the broader evidence base, and secure long-term funding. 

Overall, a comprehensive and systematic evaluation of digital health programs demonstrates their impact and value and helps identify areas for improvement and optimize care delivery. By leveraging the power of evaluation, we can drive the advancement of digital health, enhance patient experiences, and shape the future of healthcare.

About Current Health, from Best Buy Health
Current Health, a Best Buy Health company, provides an enterprise solution that enables our partners to deliver safe, cost-effective, and scalable care in patients’ homes. Our solution unifies remote patient monitoring, telehealth, and patient engagement tools to give a holistic picture of patient health for populations across the acuity spectrum. Collected data feeds into our Clinical Dashboard for real-time insights, that integrate seamlessly with the EHR, enabling risk stratification across entire patient populations, early interventions, and efficient resource management.

Powered by Best Buy, Current Health provides reliableservices to support programs at every step, with supply chain management, in-home Geek Squad services, and 24/7 tech

and clinical support teams, and dedicatedimplementation experts.

We’re bringing the best of retail to the forefront of healthcare and provide a secure and viable solution for healthcare organizations looking to make home a primary site of care.For more information visit