5-Step Checklist for Successful Hospital Management Software (HMS) ImplementationApril 22, 2021
With only 1.6 doctors available per 1000 patients across the globe, it has become imperative for hospital administrators, operators, and owners to ensure optimal resource allocation throughout the patient lifecycle. This is because one cannot immediately bump the number of doctors graduating each year or exponentially grow medical equipment at the facility. But, hospital management software can help a clinic, lab, pharmacy, or a healthcare facility manage its resources more efficiently and deliver healthcare to a larger set of people.
A hospital management system might seem to be a key solution for solving the problem of limited medical resources. However, as known in the data published by the Standish Group, close to 20% of IT projects are termed utter failures. For a healthcare service-providing institution using the best hospital management software, sub-optimal implementation can worsen the issues.
Here is a brief and accessible checklist to ensure that your hospital or medical facility can maximize its chances of implementing the hospital management system successfully.
A Checklist for Successful HMS Implementation
If your hospital is considering implementing a hospital management software (HMS), here is a checklist you can start working with:
1. Conduct Need Analysis Throughout the Patient Lifecycle
A hospital management software can have several modules and features. Some of these can include – appointment & scheduling, laboratory & pharmacy management, payroll, HR, and accounts management, outpatient management, etc. While investing in a comprehensive HMS software can help you grow at a faster pace as a healthcare practice, it can also increase overheads in the form of features or modules you may not need.
Begin the process by conducting a thorough need analysis throughout the patient lifecycle. Right from the first point when the patient contacts you to the very last phase when the patient is discharged from your facility – examine each stage and evaluate the inefficiencies in the administrative, operational, and management processes. Based on this, decide the features you must have in your HMS software.
2. Onsite vs. Cloud Platforms
If you have worked with legacy ERP systems, you would know the material impact of onsite hosting. Generally, it has been perceived onsite software systems are more secure. While it used to be a valid assertion not that long ago, it would be a very generalized idea to still believe in this thesis. Cloud platforms are encrypted and can secure patient data in storage and transition.
Beyond the security perspective, the cloud has the added advantage of the service provider bearing the liability of maintenance and uptime. Imagine having a legacy onsite system that stops functioning one fine day because the internal system cannot take the load. Cloud platforms are optimized for unpredictable surges in user traffic and hence have relatively higher probabilities of better uptime. Use this analysis when comparing an onsite system and a cloud-based hospital management software.
Continue Read: Cloud Based vs On-Premise Hospital Software
3. Minimize Costs by Opting for a Free or Limited Trial
If you are about to jump into the pond, it is worth dipping your toe in it to understand the depth. The same adage must be applied to investing in your Hospital software.
Human decision-making has evolved around the Bayesian idea of probabilities. The more accurate data we have, the more precise probabilities we can calculate. And the entire decision of evaluating a hospital management system is eventually a probabilistic exercise where you are trying to find out whether the platform will be ideal for your medical practice or not.
Thus, your healthcare management platform must come with a free trial or a limited trial. Ensure you fully experience it once and take active feedback from the employees who will use it daily. If this seems to simplify their job, you can consider it as a worthy investment.
4. Comprehensive Solutions Would Not Need Frequent Updates
You must evaluate the prospective Hospital management platform from two critical angles – how many updates will it require, and how will each update cost you. Even if there are no direct costs of updates, there are actual costs for your facility.
With each update, there is a downtime in your system that has to be accounted for. Moreover, if the update puts your data at risk or has to be rolled back, it will add to further inconvenience to your team. Unnecessary updates might even slow the system down and hamper your team’s productivity.
Thus, the simplest way to understand the risk of updates is to look at how comprehensive the platform is. If it is already loaded with features & functionalities, most of the updates will be around security and bug fixing. You can afford to have such updates as they do not hinder your practice’s productivity. But if you are opting for a ‘light’ HMS software right now, that will get updated with more features later – you might have to consider the risks associated with each update.
5. Go Beyond the Price and Perform a Cost-Benefit Analysis
As a hospital administrator or owner of a healthcare practice, the most superficial analysis you can perform is to look at just the price of the platform. However, just because it is the simplest analysis does not mean it reflects reality.
Here is an analogy to simplify the decision – private jets are expensive and unnecessary for most people around the world. Yet, after a certain point, they start adding value for management teams. If your leadership has to visit multiple locations and the cost of losing time is much more than the expense of hiring a private jet, you will naturally gravitate towards hiring a private jet. Thus, the solution might seem extremely expensive if you completely ignore the benefits.
The most objective way to perform this analysis is by working with the hospital management software team to understand each feature & functionality in granular detail. Then, understand the impact of these features on your everyday operations. This will give you an idea of what kind of value the system is delivering to your practice in the form of resource optimization, increased productivity, and enhanced patient experience. Once you have evaluated the full scope of benefits, you will be well-positioned to examine the price.
Whether you run a relatively smaller practice or are in the administrative team at a major healthcare institution, the decision to invest in hospital management software is complex. It requires a thorough analysis of several factors. While you can perform your research in great detail, using this checklist will mitigate the risk of ignoring some key factors.
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