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What's New in ERP?

The ERP market has been relatively stagnant over the last two decades but now that there are so many cloud options, many organizations are taking the opportunity to evaluate their business systems with eye on the opportunity to improve. Particularly in healthcare, where organizations have spent the last decade focusing on the EHR to bring rigor to clinical processes and address meaningful use, focus is shifting to the back office and improving business processes, aligning what happens in finance, HR, and the supply chain to what’s happening at the point of care and beyond.

Avaap CEO Dhiraj Shah has spent the last year leading discussions at several CHIME CIO Forums, focus groups, and webinars, on the topic of EHR and ERP integration. EHR and ERP are two powerful enterprise systems that are used by every health system but are typically not seamlessly integrated. The integration of clinical and financial data can empower decision makers and support the vision and goals to drive safer, more efficient patient care.

Holding many organizations back is the wall that exists between the EHR and ERP systems. With data siloed, decision-makers are often working with outdated information or having to gather data from multiple systems and people before they can begin analyzing it for better decisions. Breaking down the wall and integrating clinical and financial data seamlessly as part of the HIT ecosystem is critical.

To illustrate the concern, Cardinal Health did a survey, revealing some alarming statistics:

  • 24 percent of health systems surveyed used a product that was expired
  • 57 percent of hospital supply chain decision-makers said that when they needed a product, it was not readily available,
  • 18 percent of the same respondents said that because the product wasn’t available, it had a negative impact on the patient.

Supply chain management is complex but also presents the greatest opportunity to lower costs, improve quality and safety, and succeed in value-based care. Fixing some of the challenges and leveraging the benefits of supply chain integration ensures physicians have the right product at the right time which subsequently drives better patient outcomes.

If you look at this from a technology perspective, your supply chain or your item master lives on the ERP side. Then you have your inventory planning and utilization that reside on the EHR side. So, seamless integration between supply chain in the ERP and clinical and revenue cycle in the EHR is a key to creating efficiency, streamlining processes and fostering tighter partnership between what happens in inventory management and the doctors and nurses that depend on supplies being in the right place, at the right time, and at the best possible cost to meet the goals of delivering safer patient care.