When kicking off document management initiatives at a healthcare facility, many times starting off small is a logical choice, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The road to over-complicated business processes is paved with good intentions. However, once the ball gets rolling, more small solutions are often built upon the existing ones, and pretty soon you’ve got some crazy conglomeration of solutions across your organization. This patchwork approach to business process solutions can create a number of shortcomings in communication, access to information, and data quality.
Science, my mom, and possibly Confucius all say that a pretty good percentage of the time, the simpler solutions are the better ones. A recent report by Gartner recommends this dose of simplification in the form of enterprise content management (ECM), which allows you to manage data across your entire organization with one solution to boost communication and collaboration between departments.
Gartner makes a few other suggestions on how to best manage an ECM implementation and decide what document management strategies will work best in an HDO setting.
1. Instead of using document management solutions on a departmental or niche level, manage content across your entire organization with one solution.
Smaller document management solutions cut off departments from one another and create information silos that slow business processes. Maintaining one central repository allows information to be shared between clinical and back office business applications, improving communication and collaboration.
2. Clean out your business application closet
When each department has separate business applications, enterprise-wide content management can get confusing and cluttered really fast, and you may be paying for solutions you don’t need. ECM can work side-by-side with EHRs, and you can eliminate extra applications that you no longer need before your metaphorical business closet looks like a metaphorical episode of Hoarders.
3. DON’T implement ECM in small, individual modules. DO use ECM as a framework for all of your document management.
Make sure you’re taking advantage of the qualities that makes ECM an outstanding content management strategy. First, your ECM should spread access of information across departments to a large range of users from a multitude of devices. If you can’t access your documents on your smartphone from your hiding place in the bathroom of your mother-in-law’s house, your solution’s no good. Second, your ECM solution should help you to extract valuable information out of your unstructured data. That data holds a lot of potential that is all too often ignored. Third, your ECM should have quality integrations with the business applications you still plan on using so you can leverage investments you’ve already made.
Departmentalized document management solutions are a decent way to start down your path to faster, paperless business processes, but eventually, it’s easier and more beneficial to have one Enterprise Content Management system. To learn more about enterprise content management, check out our Ultimate Guide to ECM below!