Right now in healthcare, executives are pounding their heads against a wall as they face declining reimbursements, increased threats for security breaches, and escalating costs. They are also trying to improve the quality of care, optimize their staffing, and maintain a budget. None of these are easy tasks, and as the focus turns away from clinical systems and moves towards the financial and operational systems, these executives realize that their enterprise resource planning (ERP) is out of date and cost more to maintain than it is saving them. This leads to the decision that a new system is needed and then a whole new list of challenges arises. Specifically, ERP implementation and adoption.
While ERP systems do not require a significant cost investment, organizations have to invest resources and staff to implement and train properly. It is extremely important to get the implementation and training right the first time, or costs will skyrocket.
There are several implementation risk areas that you should look out for:
- Planning: For an ERP implementation to be successful, thorough preparation is a must. An efficient implementation plan addresses every aspect of the system which includes pre-evaluation, analysis, customizations, testing, training, and post-implementation plans. If an organization wants to avoid pitfalls and increase the chances of success and adoption, it is imperative that extensive planning and outlining of a business case happens BEFORE you select an ERP system. Consider creating a dedicated team to evaluate or contract with consultants, like Optimum Healthcare IT, who has experience with ERP vendor selection and implementation and can guide you.
- Software Selection: It is imperative that when evaluating and selecting an ERP system, that you choose one that is best suited to fit the organization’s needs. You need to understand where your areas of pain or risk are and make sure that the system you choose will address those. This will help you avoid issues down the road and is a step towards ensuring that your new ERP system is a success.
- Functionality: When you implement any new system, it is essential that you have a thorough understanding of everything that the system can do and system constraints. Failing to do this could cause missed opportunities to utilize the tools at your disposal to improve or enhance process and workflows within the organization. The ERP system will touch HR, payroll, scheduling, staffing, and more – there is always room for improvement and not knowing about a feature could cost you money in the end.
- Data: Like any database, the data is only reliable if it is accurate. If the data is inaccurate, the ERP system will be utilized with the incorrect data and in essence be worthless. When it comes to data errors in healthcare, they need to be avoided. An incorrect decimal here or there could cost your organization large amounts of money. It is extremely important that data, customizations, and workflows are correct. It is highly recommended that a system of checks and balances is put in place to avoid errors.
- Training: Once an ERP system is in place, training the end-users to use the system correctly is as important as actually selecting the right system. If an organization’s staff does not understand the system, or how the use of the system fits into their workflow or daily operations, they will find workarounds or ways to circumvent the system, and that can lead to data errors. Data errors can then lead to compliance issues, financial issues, and possibly legal issues. All of these issues can cost large sums of money, which is why organizations must ensure that every user of the system is provided with comprehensive training and given time to be comfortable using the system. Users should be able to reach out to a superuser with any questions or complications that arise.
If you understand where the risks are during an ERP implementation, then you are already ahead of the curve when it comes to avoiding them. With proper planning, software selection, and identification of key functionality, in addition, to properly trained staff your organization will be successful with any ERP system that you implement.
Optimum Healthcare IT has a dedicated practice focused on healthcare ERP systems to assist organizations in developing plans and improving operations. We offer services around software selection, implementation strategy, staff augmentation, project initiation, change management, workflow assessments, process improvement, and more.
If you are considering a new ERP implementation, contact us today, and we can help you avoid these common issues and get you up and running on your new system.
If you missed our webinar on ERP System Selection, click here to view the recording.