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

Nurse walking with medical equipmentInformation 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.

With more than 20 years of healthcare technology and leadership experience, Susan deCathelineau is Hyland's senior vice president and chief customer success officer. In prior roles, she has led health information management, revenue cycle, and electronic medical record initiatives and has transformed processes by building and leading successful cross-functional teams. Before joining Hyland, she was Director of Corporate Information Systems at Allina Health. There, Susan led an enterprise-wide implementation of Hyland’s OnBase content services solution and its integration with the Epic EMR. Prior to Allina Health, Susan was vice president of product management at QuadraMed. She managed the product launch strategy and go-to-market programs. Susan 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.
Susan deCathelineau

Susan deCathelineau

With more than 20 years of healthcare technology and leadership experience, Susan deCathelineau is Hyland’s senior vice president and chief customer success officer. In prior roles, she has led health... read more about: Susan deCathelineau