Process Integration in a Local Hospital Chain

Feature Article | December 12, 2005 by admin

But in many such cases, as the group of facilities merges, it becomes clear that they have different processes and disparate IT systems. Integrating the systems is a priority in achieving synergies across the enterprise.

Goal: This type of healthcare group needs to transform from a loosely linked chain of individual units using disparate systems into a fully functioning collaborative enterprise, using a common architecture, common processes and a single source of data. The goals are seamless workflows and better integration of clinical and business applications, without any loss of patient care quality. Usually one of the most difficult challenges for any healthcare organization, this group wants to link patient diagnosis, therapy and care processes with administrative processes across the healthcare organization.
In addition, the executive management team wants to attract new patients, increase volume and improve the bottom line and drive additional business to the combined organization. One goal is to shorten the patient’s in-patient stay before and after the surgery. And, they would like to grow their physician network by leveraging IT as a driver of clinical excellence. That, in turn, will raise the enterprise’s profile in the community.
Solution: The first step is to implement the Siemens Soarian and SAP Healthcare solution, starting with an enterprise master patient index and standardizing financial, HR, and patient administration systems into a comprehensive role-based ERP system. This involves harmonization of accounting and cost center planning, as well as a redesign of IT architecture to suit the new organizational structure.
Step two is to create uniform reporting functionality, which provides a snapshot into business tasks as they are carried out. The result is more transparent operations for users inside the organization and for documenting regulatory compliance. The final step for the combined organization is to create closely integrated clinical and administrative processes, via the Siemens Soarian and SAP Healthcare solution.
Benefits: The outcome from the first step of the integration could be greater efficiency in managing patients across the enterprise and a reduction in overall costs as manpower hours drop and productivity soars. During step two, an increase in financial transparency and general process improvements could allow the organization to perform more accurate forecasting and planning.
Additional benefits could come from material requisition, which could be better managed with visibility into the complete process, starting from the external supplier all the way to the pharmacy and to the ward. R eplacement of paper-based processes with an electronic medical records system could cut costs by about 5.7 million Dollar in the case of a 440,000 member healthcare system. Fur ther it could cut chart pulls by 90%, reducing costly manpower hours. Manpower hours spent on the phone obtaining lab results could also be cut by as much as 76% from the use of integrated systems.*

* Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers, “Reactive to Adaptive: Transforming Hospitals with Digital Technology”, March 2005, page 18.

As for the final step in this organization’stransformation, the future could hold a full range of patient services and programs, linking the community, providers, and the organization via web portals. Disease management, ambulatory diagnosis and treatment from its own providers and its external healthcare partners could become collaborative processes, conducted online as part of a comprehensive set of patient care offerings. Such services could contribute to a reduction in case severity and in-patient admissions, since many more patients could have full access to the services they need as out-patients. That could drive operating costs down and give the healthcare organization the capability to successfully manage more patients and generate more revenue.
When complete, the fully integrated clinical and financial systems could not only make the patient experience less cumbersome, it also could help relieve the administrative burden from physicians and other care providers. That could allow them to focus on patient service. Greater use of electronic scheduling tools, paperless medical records and billing, and wireless communication devices could complete this organization’s transition from a healthcare patchwork to a premiere healthcare provider in its city.

Reduction of manpower hours: 76%

Manpower hours spent on the phone obtaining lab results could also be cut by as much as 76% from the use of integrated systems.

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