Enterprise resource planning systems, also known as ERP systems, have certainly come a long way from their origins as relatively simple pieces of accounting software. Today, these systems are used in virtually all industries to save resources and allow levels of efficiency that were unheard of in decades before their introduction.
While their adoption in the Philippines has been relatively slow, chiefly due to low labor costs that disincentivize their early use, they have truly become part of everyday life in many areas. Medical ERP systems, in particular, have already created profound and positive changes in how healthcare is delivered in the Philippines.
However, the adoption of medical ERP systems has been a slow and somewhat spotty process, with many medical institutions, facilities, and insurers still using older, less capable software and many not utilizing the full potential of the systems they do have.
On the other hand, when these systems are properly implemented and used, they can deliver a wide range of benefits for healthcare providers and patients alike. Here are just a few ways modern ERP systems can help and are already helping the healthcare industry.
1.) They can help protect data
You might not think data security and healthcare are topics that go together, but there may be potential dangers with having a comprehensive medical database locked up in older, less secure manual and digital systems. For instance, many psychiatric patients or patients with HIV/AIDS are not comfortable with their status being made public. Financial data and credit card numbers used for transactions with insurers and medical institutions are more vulnerable in older systems as well.
Newer cloud-based ERP’s can also offer another level of protection for medical institutions. They are less susceptible to on-site hardware failure and human error compared to traditional medical ERP systems with on-site servers. This can be critical in the Philippines where natural disasters have destroyed critical patient data in the past.
2.) ERP systems can improve the quality of patient care
ERP software gives healthcare professionals immediate access to patient data and reports. Where in previous decades, reports sometimes took anywhere from half a day to a week or more to deliver, a modern ERP allows this critical data to be transferred immediately.
ERPs can also simplify patient scheduling, which can reduce the workload of healthcare professionals as well. This all allows for faster, more accurate assessments and reduces overly long wait times — both of which can be critical when patients need immediate care.
3.) They can be used to reduce paperwork
Having a medical database integrated within an ERP can be used to compile patient histories and other types of data that could be instantly transferred between healthcare providers. This can help reduce the type of repetitive paperwork that’s often required for patients going to different facilities or seeking opinions from different specialists.
Of course, as the case in any organization, ERP systems can also help reduce the amount of administrative paperwork needed for payroll, acquisitions, and other things that affect a healthcare institution’s balance sheet. This reduction of paperwork and instant transfer of data also means a smaller administrative staff may be able to do more work, with fewer errors.
4.) ERP systems reduce healthcare costs
Faster patient turnaround, fewer clerical and reporting errors, and less paperwork inevitably leads to a reduction in the ultimate cost of healthcare. ERP’s can also streamline inventory and distribution, reducing waste due to pilferage and stock expiry. Taken together, it means healthcare professionals can dedicate more of their time to taking care of patients, rather than getting bogged down in less important but still necessary day-to-day tasks.
Modern medical ERP systems, when implemented correctly, can help healthcare professionals do much more with less. These systems have implications for everything in the healthcare industry, from diagnosing diseases like diabetes early to ensuring more transparency and efficiency in the minutiae of day-to-day operations.
As positive patient outcomes usually mean more lives saved over time, the advantages of having a good medical ERP system in place far outweigh the financial cost of implementation. In any case, the costs are usually covered after a short time thanks to the time and financial savings these systems offer.