I have finalized a Hospital Management Software (HMS). I have checked the necessary modules and it is a great asset for our organization. I am finalizing the procurement in the next couple of days.
Well hold on. Do not be too excited.
Oh, come on! You are just being too pessimist.
Procuring HMS is a huge gamble for any hospital. You have to be extra cautious as you are deciding to automate your entire hospital processes such as payroll, HR, billing, inventory, patient management etc. You cannot go wrong assuming that everything works and looks good at present. After you buy a software, you are stuck with a software and software vendor for life. It is not something that you decide that this is not working for me right now; I shall immediately switch the software and the vendor. There are just too many constraints.
One of the major constraint is the financial aspect as procuring an HMS is a huge investment. You pay a hefty fee for procurement and then customization or upgrade charges. Should you decide to scrap the existing software, you are bound to shell out another huge sum of initial purchase amount to another software vendor followed with re-customization or upgrade fees.
Hospital’s entire business and operational processes depends on an ERP software or HMS. It cannot go down or shut closed due to re-organizing or migrating the data or wait until the new software arrives. Data migration is an important aspect, as you do not wish to have an unstructured data, perform manual re-entry leading to resource wastage or lose data otherwise important due to some incompatible migration issues.
There is a learning curve associated with every software. Hospital staff gets comfortable using master screens and features of a software with time. Acclimatizing with a different software workflow requires time.
A Hospital Management Software (HMS) should have the flexibility of customization to meet the client’s personalized needs. Off course, software vendors develop solutions based on the market requirements and certain industry standards. However, there are always specific needs that varies from hospital to hospital though they are all healthcare providers. Prepare a wish list of the absolute necessary features and ask the software vendor how the software supports these or if they can be customized. Since this requires allocation of resources to code by a software vendor, ask if these changes are chargeable, ball park estimate and exact time length. Check if these customizations shall be made available prior to or after procuring the software.
Scalability is defined as the power of adaptability to the changing needs or demands of users or clients. Scalability demonstrates a software vendor’s sign of stability and competitiveness. This indicates that the software vendor is willing to go an extra mile for you to handle the technological innovations and fulfill the influx of demands leading with changing times to increase productivity.
Since hospitals operate on a tight schedule, a HMS software should be user intuitive. It should be able to capture maximum information with lesser data fields or retrieve data from simple query input. Identify the difficulty level of the HMS software for your hospital staff. Get extensive feedback prior to finalizing. Identify the time line your staff needs to start comfortably using the software with no technical glitches or incomplete workflows.
You should have zero tolerance towards precious data being compromised at any stages. Ask how the data security is handled/managed. Enquire about the processes for data audit, backups and retrieval of any past data and how long is it maintained in the database. If the Hospital Management Software is cloud based ask how the data is transmitted over the web and how sharing and collaboration happens.
Legacy data is the data that is stored in old, obsolete formats or computer system that is difficult to process or access. Obviously, paper records are out of question. Nevertheless, hey, if I can digitize them in some way, it can be vital differentiator in effective diagnosis & treatment plan. Ask the software vendor if their HMS has a document management system or if the data is in MS Excel, is there a way to categorize, map or migrate the data in to the HMS software?
It is your money and you deserve every right to have a peace of mind and not gamble the hospital’s reputation buying a HMS software that is just a big white elephant.