Numbers add up for Medsphere as it introduces ROI calculator

Medsphere was founded in 2002, but only recently identified a need to raise awareness about its open-source electronic health record (EHR) with hospital C-suites, not just health IT and informatics pros.

Client: Medsphere (Carlsbad, CA)
PR agency: Schwartz Communications (Waltham, MA)
Campaign: Medsphere ARRA Stimulus ROI Calculator
Duration: October 2009-March 2010
Budget: $75,000

Medsphere was founded in 2002, but only recently identified a need to raise awareness about its open-source electronic health record (EHR) with hospital C-suites, not just health IT and informatics pros. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allows for $2 billion to be spent on implementing EHR systems for healthcare providers.

"We were struggling from a visibility standpoint amidst all the noise coming out about the Act's stimulus bill," says Medsphere COO Rick Jung.

Strategy
Schwartz Communications, which began working with Medsphere in 2008, developed an online ROI calculator that would estimate the amount of stimulus funding available, as compared to the cost of Medsphere's EHR, OpenVista.

Jung says the goal of the tool is to show hospital executives "what they will get not just once they've adopted an EHR, but what that ROI might look like."

Tactics
The calculator was a lead talking point with every reporter, including the business media, online outlets, and bloggers that cover health informatics, says Nigel Smith, EVP at Schwartz.

The team also developed a series of podcasts and client testimonials that address the issue of ROI when deploying EHRs in hospital settings.

Results
NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and ZDNet covered the calculator, while more than 400 hospital executives visited the calculator's website.

In addition, Jung says the calculator reduced the sales cycle for the EHR to a three-to-six-month minimum.

"It tripled our qualified pipeline of hospitals considering OpenVista," he says.

Future
The calculator and the ROI value it offers have been incorporated into Medsphere's overall sales and marketing messaging, Jung says. They are also used in the sales process for every prospective client.

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