In a recent meeting with one of our clients, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and applications were compared to a spider web. This analogy is a few weeks late for Halloween, but my kids are still eating their way through the chocolate factory in my kitchen so it is still timely. In healthcare, ERP has traditionally been a tangled and sticky web of people, applications, and inefficient and disparate systems—all pieced together with manual processes and increasing costs to support, upgrade and manage. And the implementation of modern electronic medical record (EMR) systems has added to the complexity and need for seamless and clean integration.

To enhance both patient and employee population experiences, healthcare organizations are looking for more creative approaches to help them with their most important strategic and operational challenges. Solutions and partners are emerging that understand the integration points and importance of a seamless handshake enabling careful, yet timely passage of information between EMRs and other critical patient-facing applications and processes.

To reduce cost of ownership and increase user productivity (doing more with less) hospitals are looking for guidance about the next evolution of their ERP system and how it can integrate with their EMR products. One option is to upgrade or replace existing software. Other options involve moving ERP to the cloud. But putting sensitive patient and employee data into a cloud-based application creates anxiety in many IT executives.

True cost savings and realization of the benefits from upgrading ERP systems or seeking a new system are found only when the spider web of people and applications is cleared away. Start by aligning the multiple technical, business and clinical stakeholders to a central goal of progressing and enhancing your ERP and EMR systems. Outline a clear path with defined organizational practices, processes and systems aligned to that common vision of flexibility and configurability that will drive simplified operations and greater efficiencies.

Of course, it is easier said than done.  We often hear from clients that their network’s customizations keep them entangled within the spider web.  But when simplified, we typically discover that most clients have the same foundation, with some unique configurations. The new era of ERP solutions provides a simplified approach to what previously involved a daunting integration of a complex suite of products. Even better, these new solutions can incorporate customizations in a uniform fashion—without today’s tangled webs.

A complete business platform recently has emerged from the providers of ERP solutions that establishes and supports a seamless integration with Financials, Supply Management and Human Capital Management. Today’s architecture also supports complex transactional data and processes, superior analytics and a complete Clinical integration that was only a fantasy a few years ago. With the inception and increasing acceptance of cloud-based applications in healthcare, we are seeing the most significant changes in ERP and Financial Management applications since the revolution of popular software packages in the 1990s.

Soon you may be considering a change or update/upgrade to your ERP system. Ask your organization if your core systems (patient and employee facing) are helping you adjust to payment reform, compete with a growing complexity of the care continuum, rising chronic conditions and an aging population and increasing competition with the latest in care delivery mechanisms? If the answer is NO, then an exploration of today’s ERP software and cloud solutions should be a requirement for 2018. Assess your ERP spider web and determine if it is contributing to or hindering your ability to overcome all the challenges in being able to provide an exceptional patient and employee experience.

If this sounds like an opportunity to you, let’s connect to discuss, or you can check out HCTec’s recent ERP partnership announcement.