The healthcare industry is one of the most complex business verticals there is. Not only must you manage everything a regular business must deal with: inventory, internal communication, scheduling, etc—but you must do it securely and error-free since you are dealing with people’s health.
Patients require modern solutions for their healthcare needs. They want a seamless real-time experience that lets them schedule appointments, message their doctors, order medications, view their medical records, and pay their bills all through one application. On top of this functionality, the application must be secure to protect patient privacy.
Delivering technology with modern workflows that also prioritizes security concerns is difficult to do, which is why so many healthcare companies—particularly in the United States—are behind the times.
Fortunately, there is a perfect solution. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can manage all aspects of a healthcare business. It automates administrative tasks and manual labor and identifies weak points in processes and overspending, ordering and managing inventory, scheduling, payroll, and even medical records. If you operate an e-commerce site, a healthcare enterprise ERP for ecommerce can reduce operational costs and make your retail operations more efficient. Additionally, security that couples with HIPAA compliance is a common integration into ERP systems.
Surprisingly, less than a third of all hospitals in the United States use an ERP product as of 2016, according to a Black Book ERP survey. In 2019, Black Book published another report saying that 94 percent of US hospitals are considering outsourcing their ERP. This disparity between how many hospitals have a custom ERP versus how many want one indicates a growing need for centralized software to help hospitals take care of patients. What they have now is clearly not working.
As a growing number of healthcare companies are considering using an ERP in the near future, it’s important that they understand exactly what an ERP system is and what benefits it can bring to a business. The following is a list of the top five most important things for healthcare companies to know about ERP systems so they can make the best decision.
1. An ERP provides healthcare providers access to critical patient information.
Doctors and nurses who attended years of medical school to help patients with their health should not be spending time on administrative tasks and siloed systems. Their main tasks should be spending time with patients to learn about their health, researching, testing, and helping.
If a doctor has to log in to multiple software tools to find data about the patient, that’s a problem. If the multiple software tools have conflicting data about the patient, that’s an even bigger problem.
On top of that, hospitals are meant to be a place to provide healthcare to people. Outdated systems, like recordkeeping with paper and filing cabinets or old software that relies on a local data center, mean that hospital resources have to be put towards something other than patient care.
With an ERP—especially a cloud-based one—hospitals can outsource IT work to another company that specializes in it and instead focus on what they do best: keeping everyone healthy.
2. ERP systems were originally created for manufacturing companies.
You might be wondering why this is important for healthcare companies to know about. Think about a manufacturing company. They must handle everything from vendors, contracts, supply chain, shipping, handling, reporting, accounting, human resources, and so much more. It’s a large, complex system with a lot of moving parts and a focus on supply chain management. Sounds like a hospital, right?
At the end of the day, a hospital is a business that handles very similar workflows to a manufacturing company. Hospitals need to order supplies and medicine, schedule patients and doctors, track expenses and revenue, and communicate about all of this internally in a way that keeps patient data protected. Over the years, ERPs have gained other features—HIPAA compliance and integrations with electronic health records (EHRs)—that have made them the perfect software for the job.
3. Good ERP solutions keep your data safe, secure, and all in one place.
An ERP system acts as a centralized location for all data storage related to your company. You can use it to store electronic health records (EHRs), insurance claims, test results, and other patient information. One of the biggest reasons for medical malpractice is a lack of recorded medical information and siloed healthcare data.
If doctors have to scan multiple programs to find all of the information they need to help a patient, there is a bigger risk of error. With an ERP, the doctor can view all relevant data about a patient in one place. This will help them figure out the proper diagnoses.
Additionally, ERPs can help different locations easily share data about a single patient. For instance, an EHR from the family doctor can be shared with the emergency room doctor instantly when they need it, which helps speed up the care process.
Be sure to check that the ERP you are using is HIPAA-compliant. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, guarantees privacy and security of patient protected health information (PHI) and is required for all healthcare organizations by the federal government.
4. ERP software systems will save you money.
Because an ERP system touches all data related to your company, it’s perfectly suited to then help you make important financial decisions. For instance, the ERP could track how many hospital supplies you are ordering each week and then reference the amount still in inventory. After gathering that data for a while, it can tell you the right amount to order so that you don’t run out or have too much. It’s a tool to streamline many aspects of a healthcare organization’s processes (particularly inventory management) and increase operational efficiency.
Modern ERP software solutions are built with data analysis and machine learning technology that can learn your business processes over time so that it can then suggest potential efficiencies and identify weak points, which is a great way to save money. Additionally, ERPs come with the ability to produce reports to help you visualize your business.
5. ERP systems reduce errors.
While errors in business are never good, errors in healthcare can be fatal. That’s why preventing mistakes is a top priority for healthcare companies. Cloud ERPs are a great way to stop mistakes that come from human error, data silos, and miscommunication.
Since all patient data is stored in digital form in a centralized database of the ERP, human errors on patient records are almost completely eradicated. These digital records can be built with form checking to prevent wrongly-entered data as well. They also eliminate the problem of sloppy handwriting, a trope amongst doctors.
Keeping all patient data in one location is the best way to defeat data silos. When doctors can instantly view all information about a patient in one place, it saves them time and gives them an overhead view of the patient’s health. Who knows, maybe an old copy of an x-ray from two years ago will end up helping the doctor with their diagnoses.
Are you ready for an ERP?
If these benefits sound like a great way to improve your healthcare business, then you’re in luck! Zibtek is experienced in delivering high-quality, custom healthcare ERP systems that are HIPAA compliant. When it comes to a piece of software and management system this crucial to the operations of a hospital or other healthcare facility, it’s important to use the very best providers.
Reach out to talk to us and get a free quote.