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An Evidence-Based Approach

Introduction: Evaluation of IHC

Consumers & IHC Evaluation

Developers & IHC Evaluation

Policy Issues Relevant to IHC

Health Care Providers, Purchasers & IHC

SciPICH Final Report

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SciPICH Publications IconWired for Health and Well-Being: The Emergence of Interactive Health Communication

Editors: Thomas R. Eng, David H. Gustafson

Suggested Citation: Science Panel on Interactive Communication and Health. Wired for Health and Well-Being: the Emergence of Interactive Health Communication.  Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, US Government Printing Office, April 1999.

Download in PDF format:  [Entire Document] [References]

Appendix D: Purchaser’s evaluation Checklist for IHC Applications

This checklist is intended to help potential purchasers of IHC applications, especially health plans and other health care organizations and large employers, in their decisionmaking process, and to focus on relevant evaluation results reported by developers using the Panel’s "Evaluation Reporting Template" in Appendix A. Careful evaluation and a systematic approach to decisionmaking will help you and your organization weigh the pros and cons of a new system, delineate what you expect from the system, and select a product (or decide not to purchase one) that is most compatible with the needs and resources of your organization.

Major questions to consider:

1. Why was the application developed?*

  • What clinical or business problem(s) does the application propose to solve (e.g., reduce cost, improve quality, and enhance prevention, satisfaction, and efficiency)?

2. What does the program propose to do?*

  • What types of outcomes are expected?
  • What are the findings from related literature? How did they guide the developer?
  • Can the program be tailored to individual patients?
  • How does it link with care delivery (e.g., case management, appointments)?
  • What setting is most appropriate for the program (e.g., clinic, home, school, community)?

3. What are the technical requirements of the application?*

  • How are the data collected and stored?
  • What training do providers need to use the application?
  • What personnel infrastructure is needed to implement the program?
  • What technical infrastructure is needed?
  • How often does the content need to be updated? Who will take responsibility for it?

4. Does the program work as described? **, ***

  • What are the limitations of the application given overall content, design, usability, cultural appropriateness, language, and related factors?
  • Why is this technology best suited for the product goals?
  • How has feasibility testing been done?
  • How were the intended outcomes evaluated? What were the results?
  • What is the user experience?

In addition, potential purchasers should consider the following questions that are specific to their organization:

5. What are the likely benefits for the specific organization (why should senior management buy-in)?

  • Why does the organization need it?
  • Where does the application fit in the organization?
  • What is the significance of the clinical area and target population for this organization?
  • What is the complexity of the clinical problem(s) addressed by the product?
  • What is the likely impact on utilization and quality?
  • What is the total cost to the organization? What is the overall cost benefit? What is the cost-benefit model for using the system?
  • How does the purchaser perceive overall effectiveness?
  • What budget would be used (e.g., medical versus marketing)?
  • How will the product help with marketing and overall image/market position?
  • What are competing organizations doing in this area?

* See "Section I. Description of Application" of the Template (Appendix A)
** See "Section II. Formative and Process Evaluation" of the Template (Appendix A)
*** See "Section III. Outcome Evaluation" of the Template (Appendix A)


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Comments:   Updated: 05/01/08