Healthcare organizations are dependent on accurate and reliable information so they can provide the best possible care for their patients. At any given moment, there are typically hundreds of individual processes happening that all rely on accessing accurate data. However, the ever-growing amount and increasing complexity of data make it vital to invest in solutions to store and manage it efficiently.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software acts as the central nervous system within your organization. It gives you the power to manage and direct the different functions that need to occur to keep your organization healthy by integrating information from other departments into a centralized database.
ERP implementation in healthcare organizations modernizes your processes and operations, helps reduce costs, improve strategic and financial planning, and most importantly, enables you to provide better patient care.
1. Streamline operations with a central database
Your organization can see an increase in productivity and a decrease in overhead when switching to an ERP system, as it creates a readily accessible, centralized database by integrating a wide range of operational requirements and departments (billing, inventory, supplies, finance, human resources, etc.).
For example, many facilities struggle with medical materials management resulting in expensive rush deliveries and shelves crowded with expired materials. Advanced supply chain management simplifies the process with automated replenishment from warehouses to sites while taking advantage of the best pricing available and collecting insights into all your vendor contracts.
2. Reduce costs and chance of error by automating tasks
Implementing an ERP can reduce expenses in a variety of ways, but they mainly cut costs by automating a range of operational processes. They can be programmed to precisely monitor finances and inventory levels, which reduces expensive administrative errors and optimizes operations at the back end like payroll, accounts, and inventory management.
Medical facilities with multiple entities need to perform intercompany transactions, consolidations, and mergers efficiently. The labour force and time required to finish these tasks manually can rack up a load of expenses. Look for centralized transaction processing to complete these transactions instantly with a lower rate of errors. That way, your staff can focus on the most important items without worrying about duplicated tasks or broken links.
3. Improve strategic planning with consolidated reporting
The precise financial monitoring offered by ERPs not only helps keep track of cash inflows like patient payments, but also helps providers oversee their own expenditures. It can spot the needed and necessary improvements, offering key insights into budgeting, status of requisitions, and patient visitation analytics so decision makers can have a clearer understanding of the organization’s overall financial health.
It’s important that whichever software you choose provides real-time consolidated reporting because it allows your leaders to have the most up to date information at any given moment, increasing the agility of your organization and making it easier to overcome disruptions through quick pivots and future forecasts. Information is power and the depth of knowledge facilitated by ERPs lead to better financial planning, smarter business intelligence, and more accurate cost monitoring.
4. Protect your patients and yourself with scalable security
Medical records are confidential and involve sensitive information regarding the patient. Despite the high stakes associated with sensitive data, breaches still occur. In 2019, 32 million US patient records were exposed or otherwise impermissibly disclosed. In 2020, 1.76 data breaches of 500 or more healthcare records occurred each day.
The risk of a data breach increases when you’re transferring reports and sensitive information between multiple systems. When data is decentralized and managed via manual practices, strict maintenance of each system is required to prevent cyber threats. ERP software with a robust, scalable security system is more straightforward and will significantly reduce the risk of compromising your patients’ privacy.
One of the best parts is that it simplifies industry compliance. Failure to adhere to regulatory compliance can result in hefty fines and penalties. Violating HIPAA standards can cost anywhere from $100 to $1.5 million per year. It’s better to avoid the risk entirely by investing in infrastructure that facilitates compliance.
5. Deliver better patient care
Paper-based and manual systems can make it difficult for nurses and medical staff to respond to a patient’s concern promptly, whether that’s booking their next appointment or discussing their billing plan. By switching to ERP software, a patient’s information can be stored in the master record and is accessible in one click. Easier access to financial records dramatically improves the patient experience.
ERP systems facilitate transparent communication between patients and medical staff and can retain that information across multiple facilities. The clarity of this data stream protects providers and patients alike in case an issue arises. Medical staff can also pair the software with patient portal services and manage the security settings to allow patients to see their records.
Further reading for healthcare administrators:
- The complete guide to financial management for healthcare
- The rise of administrative challenges healthcare faces
- Why security is key when it comes to your healthcare ERP
- Creating a culture of compliance in your healthcare organization