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The Benefits of ERP for the Healthcare Industry

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Thursday, 25 February 2021
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The Benefits of ERP for the Healthcare Industry

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The Benefits of ERP for the Healthcare Industry

An ERP system can benefit the healthcare industry by optimising different backend functions, such as payroll and inventory management. Here’s a look at everything you need to know about ERP in the healthcare industry. 

What is ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software can monitor data and improve communications between various departments within an organisation. This empowers the healthcare industry to increase efficiency and deliver improved healthcare services. 

How Does ERP Work?

To give you an idea of how ERP actually operates, there is a centralised database consisting of dashboards reflecting real-time business data from across the healthcare organisation. ERP software has different features and capabilities suited to other industries, but all ERP is designed to streamline workflow and improve productivity. Previously, usable data would be segmented across departments, but everyone is on the same page through such automation.

What Are the Features of Medical ERP Software?

There are several uniform features across all ERP software and some specific to the healthcare industry. Here’s a look at the common medical ERP features available. 

Data Analysis

All businesses generate a wealth of data daily, and ERP software ensures this raw data is converted into useful information that can improve daily operations. Trends and errors can be quickly identified so that there’s no interrupting business flow. 

Reporting

ERP software will include a reporting feature that compiles reports on business operations. Reports can be represented visually through charts, graphs and dashboards, which can then be reviewed by business managers and stakeholders for more informed decision making. 

Tracking 

By accessing real-time business data and providing reports and analyses, ERP software allows healthcare organisations to track business metrics for enhanced operations. 

Accounting

Every industry requires thorough accounting to remain functional, and ERP software offers this incredible feature. Through ERP, you’re able to store, track and analyse all relevant financial data from daily operations – accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger and forecasting. More sophisticated ERP software is also able to perform advanced tasks such as taxes and fixed asset management. 

Financial Management

Another financial aspect that falls under healthcare ERP is financial management that allows companies to track financial data from across every department and make budgetary decisions related to funding sources, cash payments, and financial control. 

Automation

Speed up processes by allowing ERP software to take over the repeated daily tasks such as invoicing, order processing, reporting and more. Not only does this minimise the risk of human error in manual data entry, but it also frees up employee time to focus on more impactful business operations. 

Data and Department Integration

When data disconnects across departments, opportunities and errors slip through the cracks, and it causes rifts between departments. Through healthcare ERP software, you can create a more harmonious environment where departments work together towards a common goal. 

Marketing

Private healthcare facilities require an effective marketing team to remain competitive. Fortunately, ERP software can assist with this in that leads can be identified, and patient experiences enhanced. 

Human Resources (HR)

ERP software can manage all relevant HR applications related to hiring, payroll, timekeeping and management. You can even implement HR software that integrates with ERP to handle more complex HR tasks such as taxes and benefits. 

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

SCM efficiency is key to successful operations, and ERP software allows you to track inventory and logistics. This is essential in modern healthcare, where medical equipment and medication need to be tracked and accounted for continuously. 

What Are the Benefits of ERP in Healthcare?

Now that we’ve covered the many useful ERP features in healthcare, let’s take a closer look at the benefits across all operations. 

Allows for Strategic Planning

Because the raw medical data is being analysed and converted into accessible data, it allows hospital managers and stakeholders to engage in much more strategic planning. Areas for improvement can be quickly identified and acted upon, while areas of success can be accelerated for improved efficiency. 

Improved Financial Operations

Any business can benefit from better financial operations and through ERP software, a healthcare organisation’s financial processes are monitored and enhanced. The automation of financial operations prevents any administrative and inventory errors, saving on employee time and hassle. 

Provides Better Business Intelligence

Because ERP software can assess a hospital’s operational performance, it provides useful business intelligence data for improved decision making. Using business intelligence, you can find out about budgetary performance while analysing staff performance and patient care. 

Business Integration

Instead of working in a disparate healthcare environment rife with misinformation and error, ERP software integrates all departments – human resources, finance, inventory, billing and more – so that up-to-date, accurate information is readily available for all to access. Every day, many individual processes are happening within a healthcare facility and, if operating in isolation, chaos, and confusion will ensue. The ERP software consolidates all processes allowing for seamless operation. 

Accuracy in Cost Monitoring

As mentioned, the automation of your healthcare operations through ERP software reduces the chance of error, and it also brings all accounts from across the departments under one database. By optimising financial functions, hospitals can create more accurate cost monitoring so that budgets are met, and improved care is given. 

Reduction in Operational Costs

By reducing inventory and labour costs, hospitals and medical facilities can improve operational efficiency while increasing profitability. The consolidation of various functional requirements such as HR, billing, finance, patient records and database management keeps productivity elevated. 

Improved Industry Compliance

The healthcare industry requires significant documentation to remain compliant, and ERP software allows you to have direct access to this documentation at any time. The relevant documentation is secure, traceable and visible through ERP software while also allowing you access to older documentation required for audits. 

New Technology and Trends

Technological advancements in the healthcare industry are constant, and ERP software adapts to these new technologies and trends that much easier. This also allows for more communication and integration with other healthcare facilities. 

Data Storage and Security

Every patient is accompanied by a wealth of health-related information or data which needs to be securely stored and easily accessed by authorised medical practitioners at any time. Medical records are highly sensitive, confidential material, and ERP software allows all this information to be kept safely within the internal system. The state-of-the-art ERP technology reduces the risk of losing information while also allowing for relevant access when required. Doctors and nursing staff can pull up a patient’s medical record immediately, and, further to this, the medical records are continually being updated with relevant patient information. 

Improved Patient Care

The quick access to patient’s medical records, the constant updating of relevant patient information, and the secure storage of this information are among the reasons ERP software improves patient care. Added to this, the streamlined operations for shorter waiting times, the freeing up of staff and budgets for improved care and equipment, and the general uninterrupted flow of operations make it clear that ERP for healthcare is vital. 

How Covid-19 Has Exacerbated the Need for ERP in Healthcare

Before the arrival of Covid-19 and the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration that we were in a pandemic, the healthcare industry was already benefiting from the implementation of ERP systems. However, the pandemic's arrival has increased the need for ERP software for enhanced operational flow. Some of the ways ERP can assist during Covid-19 includes:

  • Data storage – With the influx of patients who've tested positive for Covid-19, hospitals need to record patient records with information continuously updated. ERP software allows for integrated data updates while keeping patient information secure. 
  • Inventory management – The increased need for ventilators and oxygen has seen a spike in hospital orders. ERP software allows for inventory tracking so the hospital is not left under-equipped. 
  • Staff management – Healthcare professionals are at the frontline, and monitoring staff rosters is vital for any hospital. Added to this, social distancing regulations might require significant changes to shifts and leave schedules, as well as keeping track of those needing to isolate. ERP systems can assist with this. 
  • Adjusted financials – The increased budgetary demands during the pandemic and the provision of government grants will require ERP software capable of monitoring the shifting financials. 
  • System integration – The healthcare industry's public-private partnership requires integration with other software so that all relevant patient information is readily available. 
  • Remote healthcare – To ease the burden on the healthcare system, medical professionals are providing 'telehealth' services such as video consultations. This allows for diagnosis and treatment without potentially spreading the virus or increasing demand for healthcare facilities. ERP software allows for such remote access and the facilitation of consultations. 
  • Customised solutions – The sudden influx of data and scheduling changes means that many healthcare facilities require more customised ERP software to meet these ever-changing needs. 

How to Choose an ERP Software Supplier

Because of the growing need for integrated, streamlined operations, ERP for healthcare is becoming a top priority. The problem is ensuring you're going with both the right ERP system and the right ERP supplier. Before committing to either, it's essential to consider the following:

Does the ERP Provider Know the Healthcare Industry?

ERP software is not only industry-specific; it will need to be specific to your particular healthcare facility as well. You will need to check that the ERP provider can supply you with software that has all the relevant features that meet your industry's needs. Generic ERP software will not cope in this particular environment. The supplier should include a team of experts who speak your industry's language. 

Does Your ERP Provider Have a Good Track Record?

It's worth checking that your ERP provider has a solid track record with vast ERP software solutions experience. Check with existing customers, ask about their portfolio and make sure you're getting a real feel for who they are. 

Can They Implement the ERP System?

It's not just about providing you with the right software, the supplier must be able to implement the ERP system and provide training in its use. There's very little that can be done if your employees don't understand how to utilise the ERP system fully. 

What Support Do They Provide?

In addition to the initial training, you need to determine if your ERP supplier provides ongoing support should there be any queries or concerns down the line. In addition, if there are software updates, can you access updated training material and tutorials – also necessary for new staff hires. You need to maximise your use of the ERP system continually, but you're not the experts! That's why a reliable ERP supplier will provide refresher training and assist in keeping your business functioning at its optimum. 

How Agile Is the System?

No business remains stagnant, and the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular, has shown the need for system agility to stay ahead of the game. Check whether the ERP system can deal with changes to the healthcare facility and system so that you can keep on top of all innovations. 

How Does it Function in Terms of New Technology?

Technological advancements are happening daily, and the medical industry is currently at the forefront of such advancements and implementation. This means that any ERP software implemented will need to stay ahead of the technology curve – whether it’s the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) or cloud-based services. Check with your ERP provider whether the system will be able to embrace incoming technologies. 

There is no doubt that technologically-driven solutions will become the norm, and this is especially true of healthcare services. To ensure facilities can manage all innovations while also keeping track of the day-to-day hospital operations, an effective ERP system is key. Chat to a reliable ERP provider for a customised healthcare solution.



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