South Florida Hospital News
Monday August 10, 2020

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February 2007 - Volume 3 - Issue 8


Should I Purchase New Software?

Most software systems claim to increase productivity and avoid costs. Typically purchasers look not only to meet legal requirements, they want to automate manual processes and gain clear reporting in order to increase profits. Facilities seek heightened productivity, patient and staff satisfaction as result of technologies such as EMR. While none of this is incorrect per se, there may be a more optimal solution.

As a six sigma professional, I have been trained to look for the root cause of a problem and develop a probable solution. In most cases, the root cause of the problem is related to: a lack of clear efficient processes, consistent performance measures, applicable training/procedures, market conditions or equipment- technology.

Purchasing any technology without having a clear understanding of the optimized workflow (how work gets done) is sort of like brushing the back but not the front of your hair. It often results in employees changing effective processes to meet the needs of the technology. Technology is meant to enable profits not drive the workflow.

There are two main drivers of profit. The first is clearly the patient experience Ė quality of care; the second is your staff. As a new comer to the medical industry it often surprises me to see the greatest country in the world have so much opportunity around understanding the patient experience from the patientís perspective.

Typically almost 40% of a facilityís consistent expenses are on resource costs so it makes sense to maximize the workflow for these valuable resources. This is most effectively done by getting key players in one room to clearly map out how the work gets done. The result is a clear understanding of the critical touch points (handoffs) between the staff and how the work needs to be represented in current or proposed software systems. This benefit is the identification of critical success factors from the patientís perspective and key performance indictors for the staff.

When the touch points between the staff and patients arenít clear or rewarded, patient and staff satisfaction and retention diminish and so do the profits.

So whoís doing this right? Take Susan Flynn, President of Strax Institute in Lauderhill, Florida for example. Susan involves key personnel in the software purchasing process to understand how the potential purchase affects their workflow, other related systems and most importantly the patient experience.

She completely understands that engaging key players in decisions that impact them minimizes resistance and identifies whether the software is in fact user friendly. This is one way to ensure that the cost of the purchase might outweigh the benefit.

All of us want investments to pay off, besides the aforementioned make sure you check into hidden fees: computer maintenance costs and hardware upgrade costs. Not to mention the importance of data retrieval and ownership.

While many software systems claim to deliver better patient care and keep you more organized, it needs to be financially worth it.

A workflow consultant can help you through end to end analysis of how the work gets done and determine the benefits and considerations around your optimal solution. This might include a cost-benefit analysis, performing a ROI (return on investment) calculation and/or guiding you through the software planning and implementation processes.

Nina Segura B.S., M.A., President, Aspire Business Consulting, can be reached at (954) 437-7244 or or visit
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