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The Vinfen Approach in Selecting Digital Technologies

Bruce BirdAfter speaking at the 2018 Open Minds Technology & Informatics Institute, Vinfen’s President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Bird was featured in an article in Open Minds that explained the Vinfen approach in selecting digital technologies.

With so many options to choose from, such as smartphone apps, robots, online therapy, and consumer engagement technologies, it becomes difficult to make a decision on what technology is best for your organization based on individual health needs. The first step of this decision was to find an approach to sort through all the countless options available in the digital health market. Vinfen faced this challenge head on in 2015 when we were forced to replace one of our mobile technologies called the Health Buddy when the creator decided to leave the US Telehealth market.

Vinfen first identified technology that should be evaluated in the general community behavioral health market and then applied a decision matrix to evaluate each characteristic of that technology platform to see what would prove most effective and beneficial for Vinfen and the population it serves. Vinfen decided to use the Wellframe platform for a three-year pilot that included individuals from Massachusetts Department of Mental Health’s community service system who had psychiatric conditions and at least one health condition. Two groups of 60 individuals participated, and the primary focus was on psychiatric conditions, health self-efficacy, and chronic medical conditions.

As a result, Vinfen created a 73-category decision matrix that was organized into 11 domains. “Through that process we developed a decision matrix for evaluating a wide range of characteristics. Characteristics ranged from clinical and functional content to the estimated overall financial health and trajectory of the company, which we have continued to refine to this day,” Bruce shared. The 11 domains included targeted population and users, content domains, intervention domains, outward facing functionality, back end functionality, data collection and management, data analytics and reporting, evidence of effectiveness, sustainability, and the company, which evaluates if the technology vendor would be a good partner long term.

As advancements continue to move forward on this decision matrix, Vinfen is interested in gathering information on both return-on-investment and other cost savings figures. “We also have some promising self-efficacy data but will have more in 2019 when our two largest projects end,” Bruce said. The ultimate goal of this decision matrix is to effectively identify what technological platforms will be the best fit for Vinfen, and can be adopted into the extensive services Vinfen provides to thousands of people. Vinfen is ahead of the curve as the need for adaptation becomes more apparent when embracing a technology-centric world.

Open Minds Feature article was written by Managing Editor Cory Thornton, MS on November 9, 2018.