5 Steps to Digital Integration
If technology is causing more problems than it solves, it’s time for digital integration
In today’s increasingly connected times, digital transformation is a term we are all familiar with. You probably already know that digital transformation is needed but when it comes to the practicalities of business reform and organisational change management it can be hard to determine what is actually required. One of the key elements to a successful transformation is digital integration.
Digital technology is there to help your business, but when your software isn’t connected it can end up causing more problems than it solves. This is especially true for businesses that are dealing with huge amounts of data on a daily basis – like healthcare organisations.
From client case notes to records for claim funding; business financials to employee and HR management, information is everywhere. The challenge is to stay on top of it and make sure you’re optimising the quality of care your support workers are able to provide.
It’s easy to assume you need more software, but adding yet more digital tools often creates more of a mess. There is another way – connect your digital systems so they communicate with each other and work more efficiently. This is digital integration.
Keep your business moving forward seamlessly.
Consider the flow of data in your organisation. Similar to the flow of traffic in a busy city, when your infrastructure is well managed, traffic stays moving, even during peak hour. When the flow is obstructed in one location, whether by a malfunctioning traffic light or an accident, the movement of traffic across the entire city slows down, or in the worst case scenario, grinds to a standstill. Digital integration enables you to unblock your data jams so information can travel unimpeded across your business workflows.
Connecting your digital systems doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. Here are the five steps you need to follow to get your business running at full digital capacity so your workforce can focus on what they do best – supporting and caring for your clients.
Step 1: Determine your digital baseline
Before you make any changes to your business technology, it’s beneficial to map out your digital systems so you can identify the key elements you already have in place that may or may not be working well.
There are two main areas to consider when looking at the technology and systems in your organisation:
1. Business processes and management: Where are you using technology to support your scheduling, finances and HR? Where are you using non-digital systems in your business processes?
2. Care delivery and support: How efficiently are you supporting your workforce? What about claiming, funding and managing case notes? Consider the role technology plays – do your current systems hinder your support workers’ daily admin tasks or present them with further unnecessary burden?
If you are using different apps and software for different business functions, write them all down. Are different software platforms communicating automatically with each other, or is there a requirement for human involvement at every step? It may help to speak to your staff and get their feedback as to what’s working well and what needs improvement.
Once you know your current position, it’s easier to see what you need to do to move forward to the next stage in your digital transformation.
Step 2: Identify the gaps
After mapping out your current tech, you can more readily determine the location of data bottlenecks and information blockages. Once you have identified the gaps in your business, the next step is to find an effective solution that will enable you to refine your digital efficiencies, automate as much as possible and get your data flowing freely.
While every healthcare organisation is different, there are a few common areas where digital systems often don’t run as smoothly as they could:
- HR systems and rostering/scheduling: When your rostering and scheduling systems don’t talk to payroll and HR your staff are often left having to manually enter data from one to the other. This takes time and increases the likelihood of errors.
- Claiming from funding bodies: Whether it’s NDIS, HCP or another body to claim from, disability and aged care funding is complex and always evolving. If your claiming processes aren’t integrated, your support workers are likely to spend a significant amount of time on administration when they could be providing care.
- Maintaining records for compliance: It’s important to maintain complete, updated records for compliance, but this can be time consuming. Lack of real-time integration and mobile capability means case notes often get written in multiple places including on paper, phone notes and excel spreadsheets.
The key to successful digital integration is to create automated processes that can run without the need for a person to be involved at each step. Human decision making requires time and a level of understanding that takes your workforce away from what should be their main focus – providing quality care. For successful digital integration healthcare, disability and aged care organisations require a very specialised software solution. There are multiple factors that go into choosing the most appropriate one, which we’ll cover in the next steps.
Step 3: Select your solution
When you’re considering a tech solution for your organisation there are three main options:
- A custom built solution: Custom built solutions are created specifically for your organisation. While they might appear to be tailored to your business, in reality, these types of solution usually lack agility, are expensive to scale and generally become redundant quickly.
- An out of the box solution: If you don’t want a full custom built solution, another option is to purchase one that is already developed and have it configured to suit your needs. While out of the box solutions are more agile and easier to scale than a custom built solution, they are not tailored to the needs of healthcare organisations, resulting in the need to purchase multiple pieces of software to fill the gaps.
- A single, end to end solution: A single, complete solution offers security, reliability and the flexibility to configure your software so it aligns with your organisational processes and requirements. This is the type of solution that Lumary’s healthcare platform provides. Most importantly, it’s designed to evolve as technology changes so it won’t become outdated.
Step 4: Check out the cloud
Cloud-based platforms are ideal for healthcare organisations as they provide us with the ability to access and store data online, and retrieve it from any device that’s connected to the internet. In addition to changing the way we use technology in our daily lives, the cloud has facilitated a previously unprecedented level of flexibility and mobility in the way we work.
There are five main reasons healthcare organisations should consider moving their digital systems to the cloud:
1. Mobility: Because cloud software can be accessed from any device, your workforce can use their digital systems on a mobile phone or tablet when they’re travelling to see clients. This allows them to manage their routine administration from wherever they are located so, for example, there’s no need to travel back to the office to type up case notes at the end of the day.
2. Scalability: With cloud technology you don’t need to invest in new infrastructure when you grow. Scaling up or downsizing your business systems is as simple as clicking a button to manage users.
3. Long term cost savings: With cloud, all updates, maintenance and security are taken care of for you, so you can eliminate the need for third party IT costs. Not only will you reduce your costs, as your business becomes more efficient you will also maximise your profitability.
4. Flexibility: Cloud platforms are ideal for healthcare organisations looking for a flexible way to support their workforce. With configurable technology, providers are able to deliver and report on services in the way they choose.
5. Real-time updates and synchronisation: Maintain an updated audit trail with real-time updates and synchronisation. As soon as a client’s case notes are updated from one device, it shows across the entire system for efficient, compliant record keeping.
With a cloud based platform, your workforce can access the data it needs from anywhere, safely and securely. The cloud is not just important for digital integration – it’s what makes digital integration possible.
Step 5: Choose a technology partner, not a provider
Technology is the cornerstone of your business success so you need to get it right, but with multiple possibilities to choose from, finding the most effective solution can seem like an overwhelming task. Focus on finding a long term partner over a short term provider. This will alleviate much of the stress involved in making such an important decision.
Typically, a tech provider will sell you a software package, after which their involvement ends. A tech partner will spend time getting to know your business and work with you to optimise your processes, giving you choice and control.
To keep up with the pace of change, healthcare organisations need to move to a new business model where data can flow freely between different platforms, applications and on any device. Adding more technology into your business will only slow you down but digital integration can keep your business data flowing fast and give your organisation the green light for future success and better quality care.
Now you know how, it’s time to find a new tech partner.
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