healthcare digital abstract The power of ERP and EHR integrations

In an ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, the pursuit of operational excellence is extremely important. Achieving optimal efficiency, cost-effectiveness and high-quality patient care has become an ongoing challenge for healthcare organizations. As technology continually advances, electronic health record (EHR) systems and enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools play a crucial role in overseeing data and processes with healthcare institutions. An increasing number of healthcare providers are embracing cloud-based solutions, emphasizing the importance of seamless collaboration between EHR and ERP systems.

Baker Tilly principal and Oracle practice leader Kayla Flint recently joined Ed Ricks, Baker Tilly managing director and Jitendra Barmecha, CIO of St. Barnabas Health System at Oracle CloudWorld 2023 conference for a Q&A discussion about St. Barnabas Health System’s move to a new EHR and Oracle Cloud.

Flint: What foundational challenges and issues in healthcare have you been most focused on solving?

Barmecha: The challenges we have been focused on solving can be put in two buckets. The first bucket is from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) which is the “Triple Aim”. Triple Aim improves the care quality of the individual, the quality of care of populations and reduces the per capita cost of healthcare. The fourth one we added was focusing on our employee happiness. The second one focuses on how healthcare is trending. First virtually, in terms of technology uses, the newer technology such as generative AI (artificial intelligence) and how we are going to use it in healthcare. Second, value-based care and how that is changing. A combination of these two buckets are the challenges that we want our transformation to help us solve.

Flint: How have your ERP and EHR transformations helped you start to overcome those challenges?

Barmecha: I'm a firm believer of people, processes and technologies. We are paying very close attention to application burnout and how our people respond as we are implementing newer tools. We are looking at staffing challenges and at the associated processes because when you have legacy systems there are so many workarounds. Having good people in place with the appropriate processes and technologies will enable us to overcome these challenges.

Flint: Why did SBH choose to implement a new ERP and EHR at the same time?

Barmecha: Not many organizations choose to do both ERP and clinical EHR systems simultaneously. We realized very early on that there was a huge integration of supply chain and materials management between Oracle and Epic (an electronic health records system for hospitals). Therefore, we wanted to make sure that the ERP was done earlier, so that we didn’t need to continue to use the legacy system when we went live with EHR. We needed to do our transformation quickly to realize immediate benefit and we had a great team helping us with the process. There have been some challenges but so far, we are on track to accomplish these goals.

Flint: From a broader, industry perspective, are you seeing the same challenges that SBH is facing, across healthcare clients that you serve?

Ricks: As an IT leader today, the biggest challenge across the industry is to create efficiencies in operations wherever possible. Jitendra is solving that by improving workflows between the EHR and ERP environments, taking advantage of a unified implementation in both areas to reduce the complexity of the environment, improve workflow, capture charges more accurately and reduce expense.

Flint: Could you talk a little bit about implementation? In organizations that you're working with, what are some of the make-or-break factors in addition to the technology they're going to make for a successful digital transformation?

Ricks: It is critical to look at this as an opportunity to drive digital transformation through creating efficiencies in operations, not just as additional technology that gets in the way of workflows. The SBH team has done a great job of this in removing the friction in delivering care by workflow optimization, not just bolt on technology implementations. The best healthcare organizations drive full utilization of fewer applications instead of partial utilization of many applications, creating value while keeping a focus on the mission of delivering better healthcare.

Flint: Recognizing you’re not fully live yet, what are the lessons learned thus far and some of the key observations you've made regarding your transformation?

Barmecha: In terms of some key observations and learnings that SBH has had regarding our transformation, I would say to be flexible in projects like this where there are multiple stakeholders. Another key observation we learned is to invest in training! Training and communication are extremely important for digital transformation if you want to have a good adoption. Many of the broad problems can be resolved with applications and we are trying our best to have enhanced communication with all the stakeholders, which hopefully will lead to another success story.

Flint: What are you most looking forward to with this new technology?

Barmecha: We are mission driven, as part of Triple Aim. We have been here to serve our community for the last 156 years, and hopefully I'll retire and SBH will continue to serve. Looking at better health outcomes is our mission, and I am very confident that with good tools in place and appropriate people and processes that there will be a lot of efficiency in our work today because of this new technology.

Flint: What is next on SBH’s technology roadmap?

Barmecha: We are looking forward to better adoption of our new digital tools and reaching out to the community, partners and members. I'm looking forward to the next generation of care with the adoption of generative AI and other tools so that we can serve our community better. At the same time, productivity and efficiency will increase with these tools and will hopefully reduce burnout among our staff. Baker Tilly’s proficiency in Oracle Cloud and healthcare combined with skills in process enhancement, project management, risk mitigation and change empower healthcare organizations to revamp their backend operations and infrastructure. This allows clients in the healthcare sector to successfully execute their projects within schedule and budget, leading to widespread acceptance and improved financial outcomes.

Kayla Flint
Ed Ricks
Managing Director
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