Every healthcare CIO knows that having the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution contributes to a smoothly functioning healthcare operation — and having the wrong ones can amount to costly IT headaches, often characterized by unmet needs, lack of standardization, security risks, insufficient integration and more.

“Whether a healthcare organization is going through a merger/acquisition, experiencing a shift in organizational priorities, or its current enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is approaching end-of-life, selecting a new ERP solution that is the right fit for the organization’s needs poses a significant challenge for many in-house IT professionals,” said Steve Hendrick, Vice President at Healthlink Advisors who specializes in business systems and operations, system selections, and implementation services.

And with their combined years of consulting experience and deep understanding of available ERP solutions, Hendrick and his team know how critical it is for healthcare systems to get it right.

“In an environment with ever-tightening IT budgets, it’s crucial for healthcare systems to select the best system or combination of systems to meet their needs in all spaces so that they can avoid a costly mistake down the road,” said Hendrick.

Bringing a Comprehensive Methodology to System Selection

After identifying the need for a new ERP solution, Hendrick said a healthcare IT team must first understand its business drivers.

“Our team works with healthcare executive leadership and other stakeholders to learn about the reason behind the need for change, the pain points, and the goals of evaluation,” said Hendrick.

From there, Hendrick and his team turn to the market space, looking at available solutions and determining which would align with the healthcare organization’s goals.

“It’s important for healthcare organizations to understand that one solution won’t meet all their needs, so we are looking at developing the best package,” said Hendrick. “We provide a list of pros and cons for each solution, which helps healthcare organizations to understand each solution’s functions, how it would meet their needs, cost and where there are gaps.”

According to Hendrick, common ERP concerns include:

  • Supply chain – Depending on organizational needs, some solutions may be better for smaller supply chain needs, such as those for a clinical lab, than for organizations looking to expand their reference lab capabilities requirements.
  • Reporting strategy – Although there are numerous reporting solutions within the core ERP vendor offering, healthcare organizations must ensure that selected solutions bring data together as much as possible — reducing or eliminating the need to access multiple systems.
  • One vendor vs. multiple vendors – The top three ERP platforms in the healthcare space include Workday, Oracle and Infor. Some healthcare organizations may mix and match solutions from various platforms to meet their diverse needs, which adds complexity and possible integration challenges to their IT landscape. However, if an organization chooses a single vendor, it may experience more seamless integration in exchange for reduced flexibility and customization opportunities. Hendrick and his team partner with clients to help them choose the optimal solution for their business needs.

Hendrick and his team also have extensive experience facilitating ERP decision-making and building organizational change management strategies into their process.

“We focus on developing a decision framework to assist in getting everyone on the same page — which often means using facts to help change the organizational viewpoint,” said Hendrick.

A Roadmap for Financial and Implementation Success

After a healthcare organization identifies its preferred solutions, Hendrick and his team develop an RFP for the vendors that “bakes in” organizational requirements and ensures alignment between the healthcare organization’s and vendor’s goforward strategies.

Throughout the system selection process, Hendrick and his team never lose sight of the healthcare organization’s goals; financial priorities are no exception.

“What sets us apart from other consulting organizations is that our financial modeling gets right to the point,” said Hendrick. “We map out the costs, determine what the numbers look like for the next 7-10 years and document all associated assumptions.”

And not only does the team help to select the right vendor, but they also develop a roadmap for implementation.

“We understand that organizations may have hundreds of IT projects happening at any given time, so we develop an implementation plan that reflects organizational priorities and work with the in-house team to determine the impact on other projects in play,” said Hendrick. “From start to finish, our team comes with the tools, templates and methodology required for a streamlined process and successful implementation.”

Steve Hendrick is a vice president at Healthlink Advisors, a healthcare consulting firm committed to improving clinical innovation, business systems and healthcare IT strategy, delivery and operations. Our team has extensive experience in business systems and operations (ERP), system selections and implementation services. To learn about how we can assist your organization, contact us at (888) 412-8686 or info@healthlinkadvisors.com.