In the past, there haven’t been many ERP solutions suitable for small to medium-sized community and rural hospitals. These hospitals didn’t have the funds or technical support to build an infrastructure large enough to adopt enterprise-scale ERP software. Rural hospitals began relying on fragmented business software, often with separate products, for handling materials management, finance, payroll, bed census, etc. Many of these business operations were managed via spreadsheets with reconciliation requiring manual effort or via disparate systems – not providing a complete view of the hospital’s operations. The result was frustration, lack of productivity, overlapping expenses and more.
Fast forward to today. Cloud ERP systems for hospitals now allow organizations to automate all essential business functions while integrating with their EHR system. In addition, the low cost of entry and ease of implementation makes an ERP solution a reality for rural and critical access hospitals and health systems.
So, what is ERP and how can it help your community hospital?
Enterprise Resource Planning – ERP
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP is software that replaces multiple information systems across multiple departments. At its core, it replaces all the databases that were previously divided into departments such as accounting, payroll and materials management. Ultimately, it provides your organization with a clear line of sight across all departments using one shared database.
With ERP software, a single database can service the entire business. ERP software monitors revenue and expenditures, orders, materials, and staffing. All these functions can be accessed through a single user interface. User-friendly dashboards and built-in analytics help executives make better decisions. Access to data is controlled by user permissions providing your employees access to the data they need to successfully execute their job.
What does an ERP solution provide a community hospital with?
- Automated Workflow Processes and Fewer Errors: With ERP, all relevant data can be easily shared and accessed by all departments. An ERP solution removes the need for each department to have its own information system; data no longer needs to be re-entered continuously or exported, which often results in errors, lowered productivity, and significant time loss.
- Improved Collaboration: The system provides real-time data, which streamlines operations across the organization and creates a single system of record. It enables companies to make crucial decisions on time and avoid excessive waste. Teams can quickly detect any obstacles that might lower productivity levels, and a clear overall picture of the whole hospital makes effective decision-making much easier for executives.
- Increased Productivity: With all data gathered in one platform that provides clear insights into each business aspect of the hospital, staff can focus on patient care. Instead of putting all their time and effort into endless data management, they will focus on managing an increased volume of patients.
- Decreased Operating Costs: Last, but not least – especially for rural and community hospitals – implementing an ERP solution brings lower operating costs for the organization. Today, low-cost cloud-based ERP solutions for community and rural hospitals allow you to automate all essential business functions while being fully integrated across all departments.
With nearly half of rural hospitals facing negative margins, there is an even greater need for faster technology, better insights, and accurate data. With lower costs and advances in the speed of implementation, a cloud-based ERP system is one of the most impactful investments a hospital can make. A fully leveraged ERP system allows small hospitals to operate at a scale that used to be reserved for only the largest institutions.