The world of Healthcare is evolving faster than any time in the past. We should know, more than half of our clients are Healthcare organizations with hundreds of beds with multiple hospital locations. With new rules and regulations come new needs for software application and business practices. In the recent years, HIPAA, the Accountable Care Act or ObamaCare, and ICD10 have accounted for millions of lines of code being written in new software applications. The promise of Health Information Exchanges (HIE) created dozens of companies with hundreds of software applications catering to a moving target. The true cost of healthcare is hidden here in these massive changes to the IT infrastructure and systems of hospitals.
Traditionally slow to change, healthcare systems have had to speed up implementation cycles and change control practices to meet the demands of a changing world. Although ERP applications were not the most affected by the changes in the past decade, the most impacted areas like Billing and Revue have gone through massive transformation.
In order to stay competitive and keep stay current with regulations, it has become of vital importance that healthcare systems choose the correct software partner who can not only keep the compliant, but can help them navigate the changing climate.
We have assisted many US healthcare systems navigate the ERP landscape and choose an appropriate software partner. The natural first question we get is always the same: How much difference is there really between the available applications? Does it really matter that much?
As it turns out, quite a bit:
If there is one fact that is true, all software is not created equal. And certainly not equal in size. From the small spectrum of Microsoft Dynamics applications, to the mid-range like Infor Lawson and Oracle, to the very high end like SAP, it is important to buy the application that make sense from a size perspective. After all, you don’t want to buy a semi-truck to go grocery shopping. When we talk about size of the application for your health system it’s important to consider all the following:
- Number of locations
- Number of States or Countries you’re operating in
- Number of Employees
- The population you server
- Number of assets, fixed or otherwise
- Number of beds
- Revenue number
It’s very likely that answering the above items will narrow your search to a few applications you can choose from.
Every hospital operates differently. In today’s climate, what give you the competitive edge might be a very small differentiator. It is important to ensure that the application you select can handle all the aspects of your business, otherwise you will need to continue to buy more and more software. Some of the areas you may want to consider are:
- Revenue Cycle (Billing and Revenue)
- Human Resources and Payroll
- Talent management
- Employee and Manager Self-Service Portal
- General Ledger / Strategic Ledger
- Asset Management and Lease Management
- Accounts payable and Accounts Receivable
- Vendor and Customer Self-Service Portal
- Inventory Control (Receiving, Matching, Warehouse, Shipping and Delivery)
- And more
Implementation time often goes hand in hand with company size and software size and can vary from weeks to months. It is important to have a good grasp on the level of effort involved here to make sure it’s a good fit for your organization.
It’s not likely that you’re going to find an application these days that doesn’t have to interact with other applications to some degree. Whether it’s reporting TALX I9 information, or Payroll data to the IRS, the integration tools available with your software application can be a key determiner of success in your implementation. We work with our healthcare clients to determine all their integration needs and evaluate the potential applications for viability.
Business intelligence may be a new-age term but enterprise reporting is as old as time. Getting relevant, actionable information out of your system and into executive hands can be the key differentiator in your enterprise success. Working with different software vendors, we ensure that all our client’s BI needs are met.
Mobility is not just for your supply chain folks anymore. In an ever increasing mobile-first environment, you want a software partner who is mobile first. Many ERP applications are dozens of years old and have proven the business model of their application on the web. It is however becoming more and more important that you choose a vendor who has a real roadmap for mobility and cloud based applications.
The IT footprint the healthcare is large and growing. One of the most overlooked criteria for choosing an application is available resources. Each software application has an eco-system of consultants and service providers that work with the client base to maintain and implement the software application. Depending on your geographic area and the application you choose, you may find that this can be a challenge that is not easily overcome. While finding available consultants shouldn’t be on the top of your list of criteria, it certainly has its place on the list.