You seek it; you strive to achieve and maintain it; you know when you have it but you do not find out in time when you lose it. It is important to every business, not just here in Healthcare at Home, so much so that there are numerous articles and hundreds of books written about "How to Gain Competitive Advantage."
So why, in our healthcare segment, both home healthcare and hospice, do owners and administrators ignore one of the most important drivers of competitive advantage? The Electronic Medical Record software system. Certainly, we spend time and money making sure we select the one that best fits our needs. That is not the problem. Once the initial purchase is made, too many regard a solid, well-organized software implementation as irrelevant. It is not.
The quality of a software implementation project determines whether your EMR will be an asset or a burden; thus, a critical pillar underlying your competitive advantage. By definition, competitive advantage is gained when there is a cost advantage — you provide the same service as your competitor at a lower cost — and a differentiation advantage &mdash you provide the same service as a competitor, but customers consider your services superior to theirs.
When the decision is made to purchase a new software system, most executives look for operational efficiencies and high staff satisfaction. These things, however, do not result from the software alone depend as much on how well it is used by staff. That comes from implementation of the new system. If your organization guilty of ruining a wise purchase with a skimpy implementation?
Take a look at why software implementations fail and some actual common responses to each one from executives.
Gaining competitive advantage could be as simple as project oversight responsibility on your team while maintaining your executive involvement in the implementation. Building the value proposition from top leadership down to the individual employee is key in achieving total stakeholder buy-in across your organization, critical to implementation success.
What is High Level Project Oversight?
Folly of 'going it alone'
Seeking objective guidance from an outside source can be extremely valuable through this whole process. An outsider's view on what is going well, what is going wrong and potential risks to watch out for as the project progresses can help uncover areas both the vendor and your team are likely to miss. The cost of an outside consultant is cheap compared to a failed implementation.
If you stumbled through your last software implementation and still have a competitive advantage in your market area, consider yourself more lucky than skilled. If you are like most of your peers, there will be another EMR software change in your future. More than likely, by that time, your market will have grown and new competitors will have arrived to chip away at your competitive advantage. Save these tips for when you next need them. You cannot expect to be as lucky twice.
Darcey Trescone is a Healthcare IS and Business Development Consultant in the Post-Acute Healthcare Market with a strong background working with both providers and vendors specific to Home Care and Hospice. She has worked as a home health nurse and held senior operational, product management and business development positions with various post-acute software firms, where her responsibilities included new and existing market penetration, customer retention and oversight of teams across the U.S., Canada and Australia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2017 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. email@example.com