Healthcare organizations are finding business advantages to wider accessibility to data.
Cloud-based systems are growing in popularity
Healthcare organizations are increasingly looking to cloud-based systems for a variety of purposes that advance their information technology initiatives. While many organizations see potential benefits from moving clinical systems to the cloud, there are also advantages in moving financial and administrative approaches to that environment. Some general trends of approaches in the business end are now emerging, according to Workday, a provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources.
Workday has identified six ways that pioneering providers are using cloud-based systems, and it provides examples of how these trends are being fleshed out in practice.
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1. Controlled costs and improved visibility
Organizations can use the cloud to gain a complete picture of the business across financials, talent and operational data, making it easier to manage.
Example: Ernest Health has adopted cloud-based systems that not only free up IT resources so the organization can focus on other critical areas, but also provide real-time insight into more detailed finance and HR information. This enables hospital financial executives and controllers to better identify areas for improvement and cost control. For example, its divisional CFOs have greater transparency into utilization with information about employees and financials integrated in one place, resulting in a better understanding of challenges and allowing for more timely response.
2. Operational efficiency
Cloud-based automation is creating seamless workflow, and minimized manual intervention is driving sustainable efficiencies.
Example: Rochester Regional Health is using cloud technology to significantly improve benefits enrollment. They were able to automate integration files sent to vendors and automate the way employees enroll in benefits, greatly reducing the amount of manual entry. Previously, this required three staff members to key and rekey data, but now the team can focus on more strategic activities, such as introducing and educating employees about a new high-deductible health plan option.
3. Adapting to changing healthcare business models
Healthcare organizations are increasingly adjusting the business to alter organizational structures, update business processes and change reporting hierarchies without requiring IT intervention.
Example: Leading urgent care providers are using scalable, cloud-based financial management systems to support organizational growth and change. With these systems, they are able to quickly set up new entities, with all the accounting infrastructure in place, for each new location without requiring excessive IT resources to implement and maintain.
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4. Deeper insights and better decision making
Using cloud-based systems enable key insights into finance and operations to drive more informed decisions.
Example: Progressive healthcare CFOs are getting the insights that will help drive their organizations forward – and help their business partners make decisions better aligned with financial goals. They are adopting self-service analytics tools that are cloud-native and adhere to corporate security and governance policies and procedures. Self-service analytics give business users—in finance and in other parts of the organization—easier access to data insights from more sources than they can today with even the most robust embedded analytics. With the right tools, business managers, business analysts, and employees who take initiative on finding answers will be able to blend data sets together to answer questions with more context. This ability to easily hone in on small details can ensure that a finance organization’s strategy and discipline is shared by HR, supply chain, revenue management, and other areas of core operations.
5. Faster innovation
By using cloud-based systems to consolidate disparate IT systems into one system for HR and finance, healthcare organizations are simplifying processes so their staff can focus on innovation and productivity to deliver the best possible care.
Example: When moving systems to the cloud, large healthcare networks have eliminated the customization that became cumbersome with old systems. Organizations have recognized the fault in over-customizing on-premises solutions. While preliminary intentions were good, customization created inefficiencies and an overburden on support. These networks have been able to save time and reduce complexity by not having customizations as an option. Instead, a single cloud-based system has allowed for a high degree of configurations to business processes without making changes to the core technology.
6. Higher value experiences
Using cloud-based systems, healthcare providers are managing all aspects of the employee lifecycle—from recruiting, hiring and compensation to performance and development capabilities that empower, engage and assess talent.
Example: For a major children’s hospital, moving to the cloud meant moving beyond basic HR administration. Shifting from paper and point solutions to a unified approach made aligning HR processes much easier and more engaging for new and current employees and is driving a level of automation that supports scale.