Healthcare Reliability Part 1: The Keys to Choosing Your ECM Solution

Information and data drive every process in your healthcare organization. But if you can’t get the information into the right hands, your processes can fall apart.

That’s where enterprise content management (ECM) comes in. An ECM solution acts as a central repository for all of the content and information in your organization. By integrating with some of your organization’s most critical systems, from the EMR to your payroll application, ECM automatically categorizes your content and moves it through the appropriate processes. That way, you can always find the information you need, when you need it.

But how do you decide which ECM solution to go with? It may seem obvious, but the answer is the solution you know you can rely on – and not only now, but as you continue to grow.

To put things in perspective, let’s look at Sharp Healthcare. With over 92 million documents contained in its ECM solution and 115,000 more entering its workflow weekly, it has to be sure everything is running smoothly. With this many documents held in a single solution, Sharp needs to know, without question, that the solution is reliable. And so do you.

Your next question is clear, “What constitutes a reliable ECM solution for my healthcare organization?” There are a few components that go into determining the reliability of an ECM solution: 

  • System uptime: This is probably the most obvious way to measure system reliability, and an ECM solution is no exception. System crashes, instability and the frequency and nature of system updates can all negatively affect uptime. The size of an ECM solution’s user base is also important, as solutions without a large, diverse user base are often not optimized for healthcare’s strict uptime requirements.
  • User access: While a system may be up and running, it’s of little use if it cannot serve up the content clinicians and staff expect. Strength of integration with other systems, database stability and other factors determine whether or not a physician can see the content they need. When measuring the ease of access for users, speed is among the first things you should look at.
  • IT maintenance: Sometimes it’s easy to overlook this, but even when a system has high uptime and delivers content quickly, it may not be truly reliable. A reliable solution doesn’t require a disproportionate number of IT staff for support. Reliability also transcends the technology itself, as the ECM vendor should quickly and efficiently answer your questions and provide guidance. 

Really, it all boils down to one simple question. Are you willing to gamble with the thousands or millions of documents and pieces of content your organization relies on?

If the answer is no (and hopefully it is), you need to do your homework. Where is your organization headed, and what ECM solution has all of the components above to help you get there? Once you can answer those questions, you are on the right track.

From the ER to HR, the right ECM solution can vastly improve your organization. The wrong one only causes more headaches. So make sure when it comes time to choose your solution, you aren’t in a gambling mood.

Make sure to keep an eye out for part two of our reliability series to discover the true importance of system uptime.

Susan deCathelineau

Susan deCathelineau

With more than 20 years of healthcare technology and operations leadership experience, Susan deCathelineau is a leader in providing management and consultant services for Health Information Management, Revenue Cycle and Electronic Medical Record strategies. Most notably, she was responsible for the successful enterprise-wide OnBase implementation at Allina Health, which included the integration with the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) initiative. In her current role at Hyland, deCathelineau is responsible for developing and implementing a global strategic vision, to ensure that OnBase Healthcare solutions and services earn customer loyalty and deliver operational excellence. Prior to joining Hyland in 2006, deCathelineau was director of corporate information services at Allina Health System and vice president of product management at QuadraMed. She holds a bachelor’s degree in health information management from the College of St. Scholastica, and completed her master’s degree in health services administration at the College of St. Francis. She is currently Hyland’s vice president for global healthcare sales and services.

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