For instance, McKinsey lists clinical data sharing capabilities as critical in the creation of a national healthcare information network that analysts believe could save the 140 billion U.S Dollar a year in healthcare costs. For a large healthcare organization, in the range of 5,000 physicians and 10 major hospitals, such an SOA network might cost 2.2 million Dollar a year, according to the report, but would earn the enterprise 5.7 billion Dollar in net benefit.
Effective automation of healthcare processes can bring significant, measurable benefits, including better patient safety, greater operational efficiency, cost reductions, higher patient satisfaction and stronger physician recruitment and retention. Innovations such as computerized physician order entry (CPOE) can turn an inefficient, disjointed healthcare system, full of complexities and redundancies, into a thriving, integrated healthcare network.
Key functionalities of the digital healthcare organization include:
- Integrated patient management, which schedules appointments and patient services and coordinates all associated resources, provides accurate charge capture for accelerated billing and reimbursement.
- Business intelligence and business warehouse components that allow for advanced reporting, analysis and planning.
- Web portals, so dedicated information and collaboration sites can be maintained for users with common needs, including healthcare managers, employees, physicians, patients and even external partners.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) that empowers organizations to align business processes around patients, physicians, employees and other key stakeholders.
- Enterprise master patient indexes, master databases of patient information that are accurate, up-to-date, and uniform across the healthcare enterprise.
- Electronic patient records, comprehensive logs of patient-physician interactions, patient histories, diagnoses, treatments, digital images, and X-rays. They also include documented care and charge capture for a particular patient, updated in real-time as events occur.
- Medication management tools ensure quality administration and streamline documentation, dispensing, and inventory control of medication, resulting in fewer errors.
- Computerized physician order entry enables physicians to direct care electronically, reducing the cycle time to complete orders – accelerating care delivery and reducing errors associated with manual processes. Clinical decision support includes electronic alerts and duplicate order checking, which further helps reduce prescribing errors.
- Today, the ideal of the digital hospital isn’t yet a reality in many cases. “Modern healthcare delivery is increasingly recognized as an information business as well as a people business, but many healthcare delivery organizations seem significantly under-provisioned in modern information management capabilities,” adds the PricewaterhouseCoopers report (March 2005, Reactive to Adaptive). The findings suggest a problem that can stymie clinicians and administrators in delivering the best care and services.
- A paper-based healthcare organization has, by default, unnecessarily high labor costs and error-prone clinical and administrative processes. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that today, fewer than 10 percent of healthcare organizations have broad process automation. W ithin five years that number will reach 20 percent. Even though healthcare organizations historically lag behind in adopting new technologies such as SOA, or even established technologies such as ERP and CRM, analysts suggest that change is imminent.
- The implementation of integrated IT solutions is vital for healthcare providers. Serious problems can arise – with patient care, diagnostics and therapy, and unit-to-unit communication, as well as partner collaboration, financial accounting and staff management – if appropriate solutions are not deployed. Regulatory compliance efforts can be inadequately supported, creating a threat to the entire organization.
- Overhead and personnel costs can skyrocket. And worst of all, patient care can suffer.