Healthcare Reliability Part 2: ECM Solution System Uptime

Last time, we introduced you to the key components of a reliable enterprise content management (ECM) solution for healthcare.  This time we will delve a little deeper into the first of those components, system uptime.

Now, system uptime may seem like an obvious measuring stick for your healthcare organization to measure the reliability of an ECM solution. But the reality is that there are several factors to consider when determining how much uptime a solution really provides.

The first factor to look into is stability. Does the solution suffer from frequent or prolonged system crashes? So if you hear from analysts, peers or other customers of the solution that this is an issue, it should be an immediate red flag telling you to steer clear. Otherwise, the risk of your system going down is always present, removing the access to content that led you to ECM in the first place.

When looking at stability, the size and diversity of a solution’s customer base is one of the most useful determining elements. Solutions with a small user base may not be optimized for the strict uptime requirements of the healthcare industry. At the very least, they haven’t been tested and proven in a wide range of real-world applications. On the flip side, a large and varied user base grants the experience and prior knowledge required to create the uptime of a reliable solution.

Another factor that affects system uptime is the frequency and nature of system updates, because overly frequent updates can seriously decrease uptime. Whether it is planned or not, any downtime keeps your users from accessing the content they need. So if a solution is constantly being taken down for updates or bug fixes, it only adds to the existing downtime from problems that may arise.

So when looking for the right ECM solution for your organization, ask about its update schedule and how much downtime can be expected for each. Also don’t forget to ask about how that schedule changes when you choose to expand the solution to more departments in your organization. Do updates become more frequent or take longer to perform? This is an important determining factor if you plan to have your system grow with your organization.

By keeping in mind the stability, user base and frequency of updates, you are on track for selecting a reliable solution with the system uptime you need.

In the next installment of the reliability series, we will look into the importance of user accessibility to your ECM solution.

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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