Does your healthcare org need another application or a single platform?

Healthcare organizations are unique beasts. Like other industries, they have the common operations around legal, human resources, and accounts payable/receivable. But unlike other industries, they have patients, regulations for managing data, requirements for billing, and other compliance-oriented rules that make working in healthcare a bit more complicated.

This complication leads healthcare organizations to focus on solutions that will handle these unique challenges and find a single software solution to solve them. That’s the key.

However, during the process of finding the right solution to manage the data for each of the different areas, decision makers and information technology efforts have to deal with everything from the “shiny button” syndrome to assertive sales people, as well as budget constraints, leadership timeline demands, and other variables that make finding, researching, and implementing any product a challenge.

Many organizations utilize a one-to-one ratio for business problem to software application. This leads to an expensive model of application management where system analysts have to manage a number of different applications with limited time to get to know each application. It is expensive because business unit decision makers tend to see a product at a conference or online and think that it will solve their immediate problem and by the time they finally engage their information technology team, they have already purchased the product.

There are other costs that healthcare organizations can accrue when using this model of software procurement. For each new application, they need to train someone to manage it. They may need to integrate it with other systems, purchase new servers for the data center, formulate a backup strategy, and escalate implementation timelines because they never consulted or involved the IT team until the business unit owner told them about the purchase.

Healthcare orgs want less systems that are more robust and can be used throughout the enterprise

Many times, these organizations perform little, if any, due diligence during the sales cycle for these one-and-done applications. The business unit owner does not check to see if the vendor is stable, what the feedback is from other customers, or how people will react to yet another system they need to use, especially since this new application will most likely not replace any of the existing applications.

Why go through all this hassle for that “shiny button”?

Some organizations are starting to move away from the single application approach. Instead, they are looking at software solutions that can be a platform for their organizations. The intent is to obtain a system that is robust enough to handle many different business functions. This can be an electronic medical record that has a complete suite of clinical and revenue cycle functionality, an ERP that can manage everything from supply chain to human resources to contract management, or an enterprise information management solution that can integrate with any system, clinical or back office, manage contracts, supply chain, medical records, revenue cycle, and many more data areas.

A single platform to empower superior care

Many organizations that have moved to the platform approach have more than one platform technology. With these technologies in place and a published and enforced policy for purchasing software, these organizations are forcing the business owners to review the platforms to determine if they include functionality that can solve the business unit owner’s problems, before he or she purchases a new application.

This approach helps organizations keep costs low, especially if they already own the platform. With a properly trained and staffed team to implement and support new solutions on the platform, startup costs are lower than those for a new single-use application.

So why aren’t more healthcare organizations using the platform approach? It makes sense with decreasing reimbursement rates, mandate care coordination, and the move to value-based care. The health systems that are looking for ways to save money and deliver the best patient experience possible by using a single platform are the ones who will thrive as the need to manage increasing amounts of data grows every day.

K.C. Van Voorhis

K.C. Van Voorhis

K.C. Van Voorhis brings more than 14 years of healthcare information technology experience to his role as a healthcare customer adviser at Hyland. With an understanding of technical environments, customer software usage, business process optimization, interoperability and meaningful use, K.C. works with customers to provide optimizations around software utilization and support structure setup to enable successful usage and management of the OnBase platform.

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