Digital Transformation – you’ve probably heard this buzz term passed around conferences and meetings like a fine wine; anyone who is serious about bringing transformation into supply chain is lining up to get a taste. And the best news? The industry is ripe for this transformation as more and more executives are jumping to utilize cloud software, the leading producer of digital transformation. A recent survey shows 93% of polled C-level executives plan to migrate business functions to the cloud.

So, if you’re an exec ready to make the digital transformation for your healthcare supply chain operations or if you’re researching this area to bring up at your next committee, below is a list of key reasons as to why you should seriously consider utilizing cloud software.

1. Engaging your existing systems

We get it, you already have a system of record for nearly every business function, and that’s great! That’s truly one of the first steps to starting down the path of digital transformation. But if you’re like many busy professionals who work across or with multiple departments, you’ve faced the frustration of having some information in one system, other information in a different system, but no system having a complete picture. A common complaint we hear is how a supply chain may have multiple contracting systems and each system records a different contract expiration date. How are you ever supposed to manage product request forms, souring initiatives, contracts and more when you must log into multiple systems and sift through the information to find what you need?

Those days are over. What you need is a solution that engages all your disparate software systems and bridges all the information into one easy to use platform. Wouldn’t it be nice to have vendors, doctors, and administrators initiate product request forms in one system, track your strategic sourcing initiatives in one place, and pull back your actual spend and savings, again, in the same system. What if this system could also interface with your MMIS, CMS, ERP, and EHR? Or for our CFO’s out there, what if this system could report out organization wide numbers, but also drill down into categories, acute care facilities, and service lines?

Your next piece of software should absolutely 100% be a system that can engage your other software platforms. Don’t settle for less.

2. Optimizing staff time

With the ever-pending changes coming from DC, such as slashes to Medicaid, defunding Planned Parenthood, and a general uncertainty on reimbursements, more and more organizations are operating with a lean staff. There’s more pressure than ever to find solutions to optimize and do more with less. Did you know that cloud software enables employees to be more efficient? Core features such as automatic reminders, online notes, and real-time data feeds optimize employee time.

healthcare supply chain operations digital transformationOne of the best ways to optimize staff time is to reduce data entry and paper forms. Did you know that the average ratio of staff to doctor for handling paperwork can be as high as 4.23 FTE. Not only does an electronic form save you time in the immediate “now” (as completing online forms is proven to be faster than paper forms), but also in the future as well. Electronic forms are tracked from start to completion, with all changes and decisions recorded. Electronic forms can easily be found and reviewed months to years after being completed. Try doing that with paper!

Data entry is an often overlooked task when organizations are trying to improve and optimize staff time. Not only is data entry time consuming, but it also has a serious impact on patient outcomes. According to Healthcare IT News, “preventable medical errors is the No. 3 killer in the U.S. – third only to heart disease and cancer – claiming the lives of some 400,000 people each year.” Data entry also costs hospitals money. 30% of tests are reordered due to lost results. Results wouldn’t be lost if they were stored in the cloud!

I could list use case after use case on how cloud software optimizes staff time. Your employees are your most valuable asset, and their time should be used as wisely as possible. People inherently want to perform meaningful work, and keying in data that you already have in a different system doesn’t cut the bill. Happy employees are more productive.

3. Increasing collaboration

Collaboration and communication simplifies business processes and increases productivity (happier employees!!). I like to think of collaboration and communication in two types: the first type being person-to-person, and the second type being system-to-system.

In person-to-person communication, collaboration tools and features allow employees to stay informed on what his or her team members are working on. Online collaboration reduces the number of phone calls and emails, allowing people to focus more on the task at hand. Features as simple as online notes allow projects to be managed more effectively, and thus, be implemented much sooner. This means you realize those bottom line savings faster too.

System-to-system communication can be achieved through a robust web API and through file transfers. Going back to point #1 on engaging your systems – let’s say you have a process that when a new item is approved for contracting you need an ERP item ID assigned and there’s a specific process your IT team has for this. These systems can communicate with each other based off triggers and start business processes when certain conditions are met. What would normally be a 3-4 person process is now achieved with 0 people, freeing up these resources for other, more important tasks.

4. Creating visibility and transparency

Have you ever completed a form and felt like it disappeared into some paper void? We’ve all experienced the frustration that comes with waiting for an answer only to be told that the form was never received. On the flip side, requestors can be relentless when asking for status updates even when the timeline is still well within standard SLA turnaround.

Online ticketing systems create greater visibility and transparency in organizations. Requestors are given unique IDs for tracking purposes, and they can quickly see what the status of their request is. Meanwhile, department heads, managers, clinicians, etc can track how long a request has been in a certain status to make sure all requests are being reviewed in a timely manner.

healthcare supply chain operations digital transformation

5. Preserving honesty and integrity

Manual paper processes provide plenty of room for lack of accountability, both innocent and with-intent. Manual processes have too many moving pieces and too many stakeholders to operate efficiently, and often innocent mistakes can be made such as lost documents, incorrect financial reports, and a general lack of knowledge on who is working on what.

Digital workflows and automation cures this! All documents are uploaded and backed up. All assignees are visible, and projects can even appear in priority work queues. Financial reports can be generated with the click of a button, no calculations required. Additionally, all content is tracked in audit logs so that you have a full record of everything and anything done on the system.

 

These five reasons are only the tip of the iceberg when seriously considering digital transformation in your supply chain operations. If you are interested in learning more on how you can digitize your supply chain operations, contact us today!