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How ERP Helps Keep Your Healthcare Organization Healthy

Sure, hospitals, medical practices and other healthcare providers of all sizes have spent a ton of time and money electronic health and medical record (EHR/EMR) technology, much of it as a direct result of meeting government requirements. But unfortunately, the IT investments and commitments of many small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in the healthcare arena stop there, with little or no investment in enterprise resource planning systems and software, better known as ERP.

Healthcare ERP has taken a back seat for many reasons, including:

  • Lack of understanding of how ERP helps healthcare (thinking it’s only for manufacturing companies)
  • Lack of budget
  • Lack of incentive
  • Lack of time

The situation has changed, and it is high time for people at healthcare organizations to become educated about ERP and how it can help them. “This proactive software was once associated with the manufacturing industry because earlier ERP systems were designed to solve problems that inhibit production potential; however, ERP is now able to improve efficiency in lots of businesses,” according to IT Toolbox. “As a result, ERP is being endorsed by different industries, including the healthcare industry.”

What is ERP?

This business-critical system (or suite of integrated ERP tools or applications) can collect, store, manage, and interpret data from many business activities. This, in turn, gives users an integrated view of core business operations, such as cash flow, production capacity, orders and purchasing, and payroll.

This technology is designed to monitor data and improve communication between an organization's departments, making it easier to access and interpret the most up-to-date business facts and figures.

“Think of ERP as the glue that binds the different computer systems for a large organization,” cites Investopedia. “Typically, each department would have its own system optimized for that division's particular tasks. With ERP, each department still has its own system, but it can communicate and share information easier with the rest of the company.”

ERP software functions like a central nervous system for your operation. It collects information about the activity and state of different departments and makes this information available to other parts, where it can be used productively by any time by any authorized user.

7 ways ERP helps keep the healthcare industry healthy.

Depending on the specific ERP software you include, there are specific benefits to the healthcare industry, including:

  1. Delivering better patient care. Store patients' details and transfer them between all healthcare providers. Whether it's a trip to the physician's office, the emergency department or the x-ray lab, patients' records will be updated accordingly. This helps doctors to make the right diagnoses and provide the best treatment and help speed up payments from insurance companies, because all the necessary information is readily available.
  2. Aiding in strategic planning. ERP highlights areas for improvements, which can save costs and enhance your overall efficiency.
  3. Supplying business intelligence. ERP can offer key information to managers for budgeting, status of a requisitions, and patient visitation analytics. Physicians also find ERP tools a valuable asset for in providing the right care, to the right patient, and at the right time.
  4. Reducing operational costs. Helps control operational costs and do whatever possible to increase profitability. Healthcare-related ERP systems will help in reducing overhead by integrating departments such as billing, finance, inventory and supplies, and human resources.
  5. Keeping track of supplies and medical tools. Adding advanced supply chain management and enterprise resource planning solutions to health IT infrastructure can reduce costs associated with medical tools and materials and increase patient satisfaction.
  6. Managing finances better. ERP keeps track of patients' payments and costs of supplies and services, helping eliminate costly administrative and inventory mistakes. In addition, ERP saves employee time by managing purchasing and distribution tasks, which would usually be done by a doctor or a nurse.
  7. Integrating new technology. Old, outdated, or ineffective systems are difficult and costly to maintain and do not usually work together. ERP helps healthcare organizations keep up with the latest information technology infrastructure.

 

What’s the right ERP system for our organization?

That’s not an easy question to answer for most SMBs in the healthcare field. There may be only a few people on your IT staff…or your people may not have the time to become authorities on the many available ERP systems. Or software you may be using could soon be outdated or not have the right tools to meet your 21st century needs.

Smaller or medium sized healthcare organizations and practices may find it hard to handle such a big, business-critical task. So, what can you do?

Easy! The solution is to turn to objective, outside ERP experts on an as-needed basis. These consultants can readily help assess your current situation and needs, then help you decide on the ERP solution that’s efficient and effective for your organization. Plus, outside consulting experts can help train your end users and help make your EHR system more user friendly.

What should you look for in outside ERP assistance?

You should make sure that any and all consultants you bring on board have real-word operational experience and:

  • Are well-versed and experienced in the healthcare environment.
  • Are objective…and are not trying to sell you anything.
  • Are familiar with a wide variety of ERP systems and applications, so they’re able to help you chose the right software and integrator.
  • Know when to turn to enterprise solutions…and when you’ve outgrown simple SMB software (like QuickBooks).
  • Will deliver measurable, actionable, and positive outcomes your organization will want to use day-in and day-out.
  • Thoroughly understand cloud flexibility and scalability.
  • Be equipped to augment consulting advice and education with training, utilization management assistance, and help with taking your ERP system through the 21st
  • Establish a plan to maximize ERP success at practically any size organizations, especially SMBs.
  • Equipped to help you counter resistance to change by users who’ve been depending on manual systems their entire healthcare career.

Give us a shout!

Medical providers need to stay competitive and deliver top-notch patient care and value. Now is the time for healthcare organizations to cash in on everything ERP systems have to offer.

A 2017 Black Book report revealed that healthcare organizations are underinvested in ERP technology. "Crucial back-end software that manages finance, supply chain and inventory management, purchasing, payroll and coding have been disregarded into a confused entanglement of different products that don't communicate and left executives with the inability to realize cost savings in preparation of value-based care," said Black Book Managing Partner Doug Brown. So, you need reliable, expert ERP advice. If you have a project coming up or a need that we can fill,  please call us at 1 (866) 981-1095 or email info@blueeagle-consulting.com