Healthcare organizations spend enormous amounts of time and money to heal countless illnesses, while the organizations themselves suffer from their own chronic internal problems. Some of these issues are caused by systems that don’t operate efficiently or correctly.
As organizations grow, the legacy systems they first installed no longer provide optimal performance, even when updates have been made along the way. Vital data can slip through the cracks when the ERP and EHR aren’t properly integrated, costing the organization millions in revenue leakage – the unintentional or unnoticed loss of revenue – that can compound quickly.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased revenue pressures, reinforcing the need to seek more intelligent efficiencies and build resilience to unforeseen and rapid changes. As organizations strive to optimize performance for patients and stakeholders, they still need better clinical and operational insights to drive optimal performance today and tomorrow. Today’s cloud-based ERP systems offer more functionality, better flexibility, and lower costs, especially when integrated properly with the EHR.
An Example: Supply Chain as a Revenue Leakage Problem
Revenue leakage in the supply chain is a common vulnerability that usually stems from system issues, outdated processes, or both. For example, an organization manually documents its supplies and then applies charges by physically removing stickers from supplies and turning them in to the revenue team for manual entry. All this occurs while they search for prices in a separate material system and use a calculator to markup charge prices and consolidate charges. This breeds inconsistency and creates an environment where decisions based on institutional knowledge prevail over process standards for what should be charged, how much, and when.
By moving to a more structured process and a properly integrated ERP and EHR with data built into the ERP system, the documentation would instead facilitate automated and systematic charging and significantly increase the organization’s revenue floor. It would significantly stop just one leakage point to enable the organization to increase and add charges where it couldn’t previously.
Leakage points like these and other ERP/EHR integration problems abound in healthcare organizations, with technology issues (including a lack of use of technology, outdated systems, and poor upgrades), process inefficiencies (manual data entry and human error), and siloed functions (revenue cycle vs. clinical cycle) often the culprits. Hospitals could save an estimated $5 billion annually in supplies and supply expenses alone, second only to labor1. No healthcare organization is immune.
Connecting ERP and EHR Data in the Cloud
Migrating to a cloud suite is a great choice for many organizations, offering the perfect opportunity for them to make deeply transformational changes, enable better access to data, create more visibility, and build a foundation with flexibility to grow into the future.
They can adopt system fixes, properly integrate ERP and EHR systems, and upgrade to functionality that will solve technology issues, eradicate inefficiencies, and get systems out of their silos. By removing these data silos, an organization gains an enterprise-wide view of their data, allowing them to eradicate inefficiencies and enable the insights that drive clinical and operational efficiency.
In addition, healthcare organizations can examine how their chart of accounts and company structures are set up, how they run their business using technology, and how they can build a foundation to make it easy to add entities as they acquire, merge, grow, and move forward.
They can analyze the processes that cause leakage, optimize these processes, and take advantage of technology to eliminate the redundant and manual processes that compound many problems. This ensures that all charges and revenue get captured and will ultimately improve coding and reimbursement.
Better for the Business, Better for its People
Being on the cloud also benefits employees, offering them better HR experiences through mobile technology. After the experience of working remotely during the pandemic, today’s workforce expects to be able to use their smartphones or tablets to review their paychecks, adjust their benefits enrollment, complete open enrollment, change their address, or update their number of exemptions for their W-4. Amid the “Great Resignation,” offering these sorts of conveniences is critical for staff retention.
Likewise, HR staff can easily access the system remotely, examine the metrics, observe what's working and what's not working, make changes, and submit payroll from wherever they are. The cloud offers easy connectivity for all, providing freedom of access without needing to use VPNs.
And when operating from the cloud, software is constantly updated with new features and functionality, which means no more waiting for the latest updates or patches every month, quarter, or year to fix problems that could quickly compound. A system administrator no longer must chase down the next patch or version, wonder what’s installed, or worry if the system is up to date. In the multi-tenant cloud world, the system is up to date all the time. Problems can now be addressed long before they become much larger, unseen issues.
Seize the Transformation Opportunity
No single solution fits all organizations, so a customized approach is ideal. Cloud migration is unique for every organization – some jump all in, while others prefer a gradual migration. But in the end, it’s about the total transformation that leads to optimal performance. It's about creating more efficiencies to prevent revenue leakage and other ERP/EHR integration issues to gain every advantage in the healthcare sector today and to free up the resources to invest in innovations for the future.
- PNC Healthcare; GHX quantitative research study (August 2011)