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Time to shift focus from your EHR to ERP system

January 26, 2017

Tim Brown, Chief Business Information Officer

Many healthcare organizations have adopted a single vendor mentality for their clinical systems, so their focus in recent years has been on the clinical side of the organization. But now the pendulum is shifting, as organizations realize they need to upgrade or replace their ERP systems, which are relied upon to run business operations such as supply chain, finance and HR areas. I have seen a trend with organizations that realize it’s time to readjust what they’re doing and think about adopting a single vendor strategy for their business systems as well, which could help them achieve more with the same or even fewer resources.

Historically, healthcare organizations had a best of breed mentality that focused attention on integrating the multiple systems they had in place. Several years back, I noticed a major shift on the clinical side of the house when organizations changed from using best-of-breed systems to focusing on a single vendor strategy. Now, healthcare organizations want to do the same thing with their business systems because they can reduce costs by eliminating the redundancies of paying maintenance fees to multiple vendors.

Healthcare is focused on operational efficiencies right now and figuring out how to do more with the same number of people and physical resources. There’s an inherent need to leverage standard processes and practices while driving efficiency improvements. When you shift focus from your EHR to ERP, operational efficiencies can be gained. For example, for hiring managers to put new requisitions into the system, they have to log into multiple applications. With a single ERP vendor, the hiring manager can gain operational efficiency by logging into one system, which offers a core benefit to the end-user.

With healthcare undergoing continued financial pressures, cost is key. CIOs want to know how to reduce operating cost within their software systems. As they have been focused on clinical systems, one of the questions they analyze is: How can we rationalize additional expenditures on our systems? The two biggest costs in healthcare are labor and supplies. So what if a CPO could reduce cost with little effort by using inventory intelligence? Or a CNO could schedule the right people into the right role by managing on a cost structure instead of availability? The answer can be found by thoroughly evaluating their business systems’ vendors.

Healthcare technology continues to emerge as a competitive differentiator impacting the quality of care delivered, patient outcomes and satisfaction. There’s a constant need to learn and improve all elements of healthcare operations, including IT. In fact, this was highlighted in a session at the CHIME CIO Fall Forum recently about how CIOs need to focus attention on modern technology in order to transform healthcare.

Does your organization have a single vendor strategy for your business systems? Please share your experience here.
  • Healthcare
  • EMEA
  • North America
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