The two largest – and most impactful – platforms in any hospital or health system are its enterprise electronic health record (EHR), followed by the enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. The EHR supports the critical roles of clinical services, billing, and patient access, while the ERP is responsible for back-end operations (e.g., financial management, human capital management, and supply chain). Virtually every major business function or clinical activity that occurs in a hospital or health system on a day-to-day basis is supported by one of these two massive and highly complex systems, and often in a complementary way.
For example, in the operating room, the EHR tracks demand and utilization of the instruments and supplies needed to perform the surgery – while the sourcing, acquisition, and replenishment of those supply items is accomplished through the ERP. Close integration between the two major platforms is essential in ensuring there is a clear understanding of clinical preference, the supplies that are being used, and how all this aligns with on-hand inventory and overall purchasing strategies. The two systems need to exchange actionable data in real time, clinical and operational workflows must be synchronized, and key insights from marrying clinical utilization and supply information need to be available to support informed, value-added decision-making.