Using Technology Outside the EHR to Make Your Organization More Efficient

The following is a post by Vishal Gandhi, CEO of ClinicSpectrum as part of the Cost Effective Healthcare Workflow Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with him on Twitter @ClinicSpectrum and @csvishal2222.
Vishal Gandhi
The complaints about EHR systems not making doctors more efficient and more broadly that technology should improve a practice and not make it worse are starting to really swell. All of these poorly designed and poorly implemented EHR are giving all healthcare technology a bad name and it shouldn’t.

Technology has improved so many businesses outside of healthcare and it can have the same impact inside healthcare. We just need more practices to stop focusing on government incentive money and government regulations so they can focus on meaningful (pun intended) technology which will actually improve the performance of their healthcare organization.

This requires a major shift in thinking for most healthcare organizations. Instead of evaluating technology based on its ability to receive government incentives, you now have to look at technology that will make your practice run more efficiently, increase your practice revenue, or improve the quality of care you provide. In many cases this means looking at technology that’s been benefiting other industries for years.

A great example of this is implementing a complete workflow management system. Document workflow management systems have been around for a long time, but so many areas of healthcare are missing out on the benefits. We’d like to think that an EHR would make us paperless, but that’s far from reality. That’s especially true on the medical billing and practice management side of healthcare. A well done workflow management software like we created with WorkflowSpectrum takes your current paper based processes and makes them more efficient and trackable.

With an electronic workflow solution a healthcare organization can quickly see how well their back end office processes are running. They can track how long it takes for a process to occur. This ensures your staff are held accountable for the work they’ve been asked to do. You can easily assign and re-assign tasks to people in your office without having the files get lost or misplaced in the process. Document management options like this have been available forever, but far too many have been distracted by EHR to implement these solutions. Plus, many practices have yet to realize that even small practices can afford workflow management solutions that will dramatically improve the efficiency of their practice. The cost of these systems has dropped dramatically over the years and they’re much easier to implement as well.

Another example of non-EHR technology that could benefit many healthcare organizations is a client support and electronic device management software package. We’ve created one that we call SupportSpectrum, but there are a number of other device management and support software programs out there. These software packages provide the most value when you’re required to manage multiple devices across a wide range of locations. If you’re involved in this, you know about the challenge of managing your electronic device inventory including warranty and contract management.

Thanks to ubiquitous internet, it’s now easy for even remote support staff to manage and support clients and electronic devices (including mobile devices) at a distance. That includes things like application, service, and hardware management. It also includes backup tracking, support ticket and issue management, application updating and much more. No doubt many organizations implement some sort of hodgepodge of software to tackle this problem. That works fine when you’re small, but gets quite cumbersome as you grow. A unified platform for support can provide many needed efficiencies and a much higher level of support.

The problem is that talking about many of these non-EHR technologies isn’t considered “sexy.” We can’t talk about the billions in government incentive money from implementing these technologies. We can’t use government penalties to drive fear in providers. However, what these non-EHR solutions do provide is efficiency and increased revenue for your healthcare organization.

Maybe I’m old school in this regard, but give me a well run, efficient, patient focused organization over some government program driven healthcare organization every day of the week.

The Cost Effective Healthcare Workflow Series of blog posts is sponsored by ClinicSpectrum, a leading provider of workflow automation solutions for healthcare. ClinicSpectrum offers a client support module to help you better manage the support you provide your clients’ computer systems. ClinicSpectrum also offers a document workflow system to optimize your practice’s workflow processes. Connect with Clinic Spectrum on social media: @ClinicSpectrum or at Booth 1270 at HIMSS 2016.