Data, data everywhere! Healthcare faces the same situation as all other industries. Endless amounts of procurement data is generated each day. Integrating these data and operations activities across facilities is critical to success. To be useful, all of this supply chain data needs to be organized, managed and controlled. Your enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the tool to help you achieve this goal. Too often, however, existing ERPs are unable to keep up in this dynamic healthcare environment. How do you get what you need from your ERP?
The first question health systems need to answer is “Where should all of this data be housed?” Right now there are really just two options. Host your ERP in the cloud or use a dedicated on-site ERP. Is there a difference? Is one better than the other? Well, I believe that for health systems to survive and thrive in this ever-consolidating healthcare environment, there is one clear option. The cloud.
Here are three primary reasons why cloud-based ERPs are the right choice for healthcare:
- Cloud-based hosting provides unmatched flexibility and scalability.
- Health systems will continue to acquire acute facilities as well as all manner of non-acute facilities – physician offices, long-term care facilities, surgery centers and more. To truly integrate disparate facilities’ IT systems into one overall system, supply chain and operational activities and data must be connected. With a cloud-based ERP solution, this can be done more quickly and efficiently than is possible with traditional on-site server systems.
- Cloud-based hosting has overall economic advantages.
- Most healthcare IT resources are currently consumed by major electronic health record (EHR) projects. Supply chain and operational activities are often lower priorities. With the right partner that can provide a cloud-based ERP, this is not an issue. Because of the nature of cloud technology, upfront capital and internal IT resource requirements are very limited. In addition, the right ERP provider can handle the heavy lifting including populating the data into the ERP solution, especially if the provider is expert in healthcare.
- By contrast, on-site ERP systems normally require substantial upfront investments of capital and resources plus ongoing additional costs for upgrades.
- Healthcare and supply chain experts now provide cloud-based ERP solutions.
- Identifying the right partner is important. The partner must have extensive healthcare expertise and deep analytics knowledge along with an ERP solution in the cloud. With this approach, you can save time, internal resources and money, not only during implementation but also long-term as your needs may change. Additionally, the right cloud-based ERP partner handles all of your security, backups, redundancy, upgrades and regulatory needs so you can focus on what’s really important – the patient. This allows you to leverage the ERP partner’s supply chain expertise, item master capabilities and implementation resources without impacting your other strategic goals.
A note of caution. Not all clouds are the same. There is cloud-based versus cloud-hosted. Legacy vendors often will offer legacy software in a hosted model. Not dissimilar to outsourcing of the 1980s, this alternative does not offer many of the advantages available from a truly cloud-based solution. Without the functionality inherent in a cloud-based solution, you should be prepared for longer and more costly implementations, upgrades that remain your responsibility, cumbersome access and, quite often, disconnected data.
If you’re concerned about protecting and getting the most from your valuable data, particularly how you can organize, manage and control it better, we’d be happy to start a conversation with you about just that. It’s our mission to partner with our members to improve the health of communities. Just contact us here.