Healthcare Providers Cannot Afford To "Directly" Use BPM Systems

by MK Strupe on Thu, Aug 06, 2009 @ 12:13 PM

I bet you did not expect to see this title!  The keyword "directly" is what I believe makes this statement true.  Can Healthcare Providers find value from leveraging systems empowered by BPM?  Definitely YES!

At the core of Healthcare Provider practices are Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems.  EMR systems provide direct value to Healthcare Providers in two ways:

  • They are designed to specifically add value to the daily operations in the Healthcare Industry through user interfaces that employ the correct Healthcare terminology, features and functions such as medical X-Ray imaging software.
  • They include basic workflow functionality supporting the basic routing and task list needs
Healthcare Providers are accustomed to using their EMR systems today as part of their daily functions. I would hate to walk into a doctor's office, being sick and needing to be seen, and wait for the office staff to fumble his/her way through the computer system before I could be admitted.  Although, it can be argued that this still happens today, imagine the troubles introduced with a brand new application. 

The workflow applications that are already part of today's EMR systems provide effective task routing and task list management to the daily operations inside a Healthcare office.  Having said that, each EMR has its own built-in workflow operation; meaning that using multiple EMR applications can introduce disparate workflow environments that do not integrate easily. 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides guidelines and incentives to practices committed to developing a national network of medical information interoperability based on a national Electronic Health Record Systems (EHR-S). This begs for a technology platform that integrates systems, organizes data across those systems, and optimizes EMRs to ensure they work together efficiently. These needs are exactly in line with a quality Business Process Management Suite (BPMS). Where BPM can add value to the EMR is:

  • process optimization
  • best practices
  • coordination of information across systems
  • coordination of information across Healthcare Providers
Consider the following depiction of how a BPMS can bridge together health care administrators as well as EMR systems:

Connecting BPM Software and EMRs

With this type of systems architecture, Healthcare Providers will continue to utilize the EMR systems that they are accustomed to today, but BPMS works to coordinate information across those systems, unify task lists, and integrate data across the applications.  When you expand this integration outside of the Healthcare Provider's office to integrate with other Healthcare Providers, you can see how the networks and bridges can come together.

Healthcare administrators, and the IT providers servicing the healthcare profession, should start today to analyze their applications in terms of APIs and integration capabilities.  EMRs that cannot easily integrate with other systems will potentially find themselves as "shelf-ware" when integration becomes a required and vital part of a Healthcare's application landscape.  Are you a Healthcare IT administrator?  Have you begun to inspect your existing EMR applications?  Ultimus can help you with this effort by providing you information about best practices for data integration and the beginnings of BPM platform building.


Chris Adams
VP Product Marketing and Management

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This post was written by MK Strupe