Thursday, April 2, 2015

My New Audi Has No Workflow

By John Trimble

You are sitting across the desk from a reasonable imitation of a carbon based life form sales guy negotiating the final details of your luxury car purchase. Maybe it’s an Audi, maybe a Mercedes or the new Infiniti. It doesn’t matter because they are all pretty great. But then you are jolted because you realize you have neglected to discuss the sound system. Let’s face it, other than the driver’s door handle, accelerator and brake this will be used more than anything else.

You mention this and the sales automaton says,” No, don’t go with a name brand upgraded system. The reason you want a basic sound system made by the manufacturer is one word: integration.”

“Listen, I know for a fact that Audi offers Bang and Olufsen, that Mercedes offers Harman Kardon, heck, even Infiniti offers Bose. Those are great products.”

“Sure, they are available but I recommend you stick with the tried and true basic package. You don’t need premium. You just want it to work. Doesn’t that seem like a safer choice? Fewer hassles?  Of course they’re not as good but you won’t need all that functionality anyway…it’s good enough. Trust me.”

While this conversation seems unimaginable its twin happens every day in Healthcare. The big car equivalent purchase, of course, is the EMR system. Big money, big decision. But just like your sound system the hospitals also need document management, today more than ever. So much so that many EMR manufacturers are including a Document Management component, very often branded as part of the EMR. So what is wrong with that?

 I am going to tell you three main reasons and then you will tell me which one sounds the worst.

1.  In no way shape, manner or form are they as well designed and complete as high quality ECM products such as Hyland OnBase or FileBound. They too often lack the functionality of easily constructed workflows, audit trails, document routing, alerts and reporting tools all necessary for compliance in a highly regulated HIPAA environment.

2.  The scanning of documents into the Document Management module is a famously overlooked aspect; if the system’s scanning software is not able to do optical recognition, point and click indexing and batch scanning, all allowing the ingesting of documents very quickly, the improvement over paper filing evaporates. The bundled ECM modules are notorious for having little or no automation whatsoever. They also tend to struggle with importing different electronic image and file formats – particularly from older patient files - which are now abundant to say the least.

3.  Maybe the biggest and most misunderstood idea is that by buying the Document Management module that hangs off the EMR software someone is buying one station radio. While critical, the Medical Records area is only one challenged department; there is also HR, Accounting, Registration, Legal and more. When pressed many respond with ”I guess we will just get another system for those areas.”  Let that resonate for a moment to appreciate how both silly and unnecessary that really is.


The worst? That is up to you. To me the killer is settling for something that is not nearly as good, going backwards in technology just because someone knows that it will seem easier to you.  Integration? It is done every day. That is the big fear lie that is told to protect the sales of lesser products. There is no need. A safe decision?  The IOS advice would be look before you leap. IOS also wants you to have a decent stereo in your darn car.

Go ahead, give us your biggest problem.

With offices in five states, more than 500 installations and document scanning facilities that convert over five million pages a month IOS knows what it takes to solve your document challenges.

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