Screen Shot 2022-02-16 at 3.39.03 PM

Optimizing Operations: Managing the Heart of Your Health System

Deploying a new cloud ERP system is a transformative process for any hospital or health system, which  can get increasingly complex in today’s environment of large acquisitions and mergers, where healthcare organizations are bringing together disconnected systems on different platforms with different processes, while planning resource allocation amid day-to-day operations. Additionally, hospital staff are already spread thin due to pandemic strain, staff shortages, and employees working remote, further hindering transformation efforts.

With all of this top-of-mind, it can be hard to commit to large-scale change like cloud ERP. Considering the alternative, should your health system carry on with old, disconnected systems or are you doing more harm than good by pressing the legacy system to do more than it can handle?

Checking on the health of your organization’s technology is critical. For example, is your organization able to handle current challenges as well as prepared to compete in the future? Is it able to respond swiftly to change? Is it able to keep up with employee, customer, and supplier demands? Does your technology offer mobility for anywhere, anytime access? Is your data clean, precise, relevant, and up-to-date? If you answered no to any or all of the questions, your health system needs to put a fitness plan in place.

Signs your ERP needs intervention:

heart rate
  • Too many manual processes
  • Limited or no mobile and remote capabilities
  • High maintenance costs or end-of-life support costs
  • High overhead costs (on-premises hardware)
  • Multiple, siloed systems
  • Overly customized applications
  • Limited or no integration with the EHR

Matters of the Heart

Think of large ERP projects like open heart surgery – invasive and laborious. It may cause short-term pain and take time and effort to return to an optimal state. Just as surgery procedures have come a long way over the years to become more technology based and less invasive, with built-in rehab programs to make lifestyle changes to strengthen the heart, ERP cloud transformation is no longer just a technology upgrade. It is an opportunity to leverage modern technology and proven best practices to optimize business processes and results.

Just like patients have tasks to complete prior to surgery, such as changing their diet or not eating or drinking a number of hours before an operation, there is necessary preparation to realize the envisioned outcomes from transformation initiatives. Cloud project prerequisites include change management and beginning internal communications early so the team understands the reason for change and why they should support it; cleaning legacy data to filter out old or duplicate data, and identifying key strategic business and technology goals to ensure a smooth post-go-live transition to ongoing operations.

Committing to Change

According to a Columbia University study, human behavior accounts for 40 percent of the risk associated with premature, preventable deaths, like heart disease. Despite the importance of behavior on health, most people cannot commit to sustainable healthy changes. Like heart surgery, the rigor needed for making a technology change and increased understanding of the impact it will have is key for successful transformation. Organizational change initiatives, no matter how positive, are risky. The mere thought of any change to people, processes, or technology can have negative impacts on performance and productivity when not communicated correctly. Change that is supported with clear communication, training, and transparency is more likely to be adopted and produce a healthy return on the technology investment.  

Like healthy behavior changes that are often ignored, change management is sometimes left behind when leaders recall prior initiatives that were unable to produce a direct correlation to return on investment. Just like BMI, heart rate, cholesterol levels, and other metrics indicate heart health, measuring change analytics can help organizations focus on the initiatives that yield the biggest impact. Change analytics, the ability to measure sentiment around change and analysis on its effectiveness, when used during transformation, provides leaders with a data-driven approach to driving adoption support and increased end-user efficiency.

j-curve of adoption

Moving to the cloud requires a culture shift and visible and engaged executive sponsorship. An engaged sponsor has a huge impact on how the organization perceives change initiatives. When executive sponsors are engaged, it sets the tone of the project, ensuring everyone understands the significant investment made in driving improvement. Incorporating change management early is key for good organization health and driving behavioral change.

Post-Project Pulse Check

The length of time to return to good health depends on a number of variables. Many times software vendors check in with customers immediately after go-live and are shocked by less than glowing remarks. Six months or later, as users pass through start seeing productivity increases after their initial drop in productivity, it is easier for them to see the value the new system has added to the organization. During pre-project planning, factor in all the components of a quality change management program – strategy, leadership development, communication, and training. All of this is focused on how you plan to build comfort with the new system and drive adoption of new processes to increase ROI on your new investment.

Picking the Right Transformation Team

Before, during, and after heart surgery, patients put their trust in the surgeon and dedicated care team. Similarly, business leaders put their trust in system integration partners. Teaming with experts who understand your business and the goals you want to achieve can help you properly assess, plan, and implement your go-forward path. Finding a team that will work with you throughout the entire project life cycle, from system selection and phase zero review of current processes and needs, through implementation and post-go-live support, can ensure everything goes smoothly during the project and beyond.

Heart surgery is an option many patients undergo to ensure a better, stronger future. Deploying new cloud ERP can ensure the heart of your health system is strong, healthy, and flexible for the future. As you think about the health of your organization and enterprise applications, it is vital to put in the same research and care as you would for your own internal systems.