Understanding the current state and establishing a foundation for operational growth and efficiency
This is the first in a series of blogs where we will discuss the different areas of discovery preceding the evaluation and final selection of new technology. We will consider how healthcare organizations must understand their current state, plan for the future, understand returns—whether through improved optimization, productivity and efficiency, or cost reduction—and how any change requires a shift in an organization’s culture.
Recognize the current state
Whether organizations are looking at a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution or moving to the cloud with an existing software provider, there is a critical body of work that is often overlooked prior to selection, design, and implementation of any software.
When looking at overall healthcare business operations, you must recognize the upstream and downstream effects of efforts in all departments of the organization. This allows you to establish a solid foundation for operational growth and efficiency. To make a long story short, all departments are intertwined and dependent on each other—they cannot operate in isolation.
Awareness of the current state of a health organization is the first essential part of this process. Most organizations dedicate the majority of their time to the technical aspects of systems when, in fact, an organization’s attention should also include workflow design, handoffs within the business processes, and condition of the data. Simply put, an organization must first understand their starting point from all angles before they can decide where they are going.
Areas to remember
There are a few key areas you should remember when starting your journey, including:
Understand all current processes and procedures—An organization needs to recognize and document how work is being completed and identify gaps within business processes and procedures that are currently being performed.
Identify areas of ineffective processes—Workarounds exist due to lack of functionality or ineffective business processes that need to be redesigned to automate or streamline handoffs. This will allow an organization to eliminate inefficiencies and reduce non-productive labor expenses.
Establish a data management strategy—Implement data standards and define how information is going to be maintained and integrated into other systems. There needs to be one source of truth where one governing body owns all master data.
Identify opportunities to realign or segregate duties—Take the opportunity to redesign roles and scope so that clinicians and other healthcare professionals can focus on patient care. To account for the shift in work, additional employees might need to be added to the supply chain department to maintain the product ordering and supply management.
Research best practice—Seek input from colleagues within your IDN, GPO, distributor partners, or third-party consultants who are partnered with the organization. This coupled with the understanding of current processes and procedures will also help expose a lack of system functionality during the selection process.
Find a good partner—There are many choices in the marketplace when looking at best of breed and fully integrated options. Partner with a company that can support all current business process and how your organization intends to evolve in the future.
It is of critical importance to understand all supply chain touch points. This will help any organization understand what is working, where process improvements need to happen, and position themselves to get the most out of their selection process, system design, and eventual implementation.
Once organizations understand their current state and establish an operational foundation to build upon, a plan needs to be developed for the future and moving to the cloud is the only option that will set organizations up for imminent success.
– Melissa Amell, Director, Healthcare Strategy Supply Chain
– Anthony Hare, Director, Healthcare Strategy Financials
- CloudSuite Healthcare
- Cloverleaf Integration Suite for clinical interoperability
- Supply Chain Management