Enterprise content management (ECM) can be a powerful tool that offers numerous enhancements to both the clinical and administrative operations of a healthcare organization. Its ability to help support and improve patient care, drive operational efficiencies, and lower costs is well recognized throughout the industry. However, as with every business investment, the benefits also come with some risks. If your organization is interested in adopting ECM through a document management and imaging (DMI) system, it is critical to evaluate both the positive and negative impacts. Executive leadership will expect as much, because they understand that even good investments involve risks.
The primary advantages of ECM are well known and documented: health record transparency, data security, compliance reporting, and enhanced administrative efficiency. While these attributes are compelling on their own, many tertiary benefits should also be considered.
- Supplemental cost savings resulting from reduced paper document storage and disposal
- Access to potential revenue-generating floor space previously consumed by document storage
- Reduced staffing demands and reallocation of labor as a result of process automations
- Possible monetary gains from selling off surplus assets, including office storage furnishings and outdated server equipment
- Potential for increased patient volumes, expedited billing processes, and reduced quality reporting turnaround times as a result of productivity improvements
- Service quality improvements from the point of patient check-in to final collections
- Minimization of paper waste for a more sustainable, environmentally friendly business model
While it may seem counterintuitive to highlight the risks of an initiative that you support, transparency is essential in making investment decisions. Risks can take on many forms, which can make the process of identifying them a challenge. There are 4 types of to consider: financial, strategic, operational, and safety.
- Up-front investment costs, which may include a DMI system, server hardware, installation services, training, additional infrastructure, and staffing
- Potential disruptions in normal work processes and operations as staff resources are allocated to support implementation
- Potential interruptions in information management systems during integration
- Limited or slow adoption of technologies as staff acclimate to new systems and processes
- Possible safety hazards resulting from employee travel or labor during hardware installations
A comprehensive list of risks will vary on based on your individual organization. To fully assess your unique situation, consider reviewing a variety of resources, including case studies, industry survey reports, and even evidence and testimonies provided by similar organizations. By properly addressing potential pitfalls while highlighting clear benefits, you can present a thorough and compelling recommendation for senior leaders to evaluate.
To learn more about building an ECM business case for executive leadership, download our latest white paper, “Developing a Business Proposal for Enterprise Content Management.”