Why the healthcare sector must reduce its reliance on legacy IT systems


By Brent Paterson, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, SNP
Wednesday, 14 July, 2021


Why the healthcare sector must reduce its reliance on legacy IT systems

Healthcare workers have faced incredible challenges in the past 18 months as the world continues to respond to the ongoing risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing and lockdowns have, among other restrictions, created new obstacles for healthcare workers to overcome as they work to keep patients safe and healthy. However, while healthcare workers face physical challenges across their hospitals, they also face challenges within the technological infrastructure that underpins operations.

Adapting to new ways of working is critical, particularly for workers operating in a time-intensive and high-pressure environment such as a hospital. While people can be incredibly flexible and quick to adjust to new practices, streamlining the underlying technology infrastructure can be a more time-consuming process. However, leveraging modern technology solutions, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, is one of the most effective ways for healthcare facilities to keep pace with changing workplace needs. In fact, it’s essential that healthcare organisations move quickly to update their technologies or risk creating more challenges for healthcare workers and patients alike.

Relying on outdated legacy systems can create issues for healthcare organisations as they may risk losing access to updated patient information and data. It’s critical that doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have access to the most up-to-date patient information to deliver the best possible care. Doing this depends on ready access to accurate and comprehensive patient data.

To facilitate better access to the most recent data, healthcare organisations must refresh their technological foundations. Investing in cloud-based ERP systems, for example, can help to better connect and enhance system and data visibility within the healthcare organisation’s network. Leveraging cloud-based solutions is especially important, as it lets healthcare workers access critical information whenever and wherever they need it, regardless of where they are on site. This can empower healthcare workers to deliver even better patient care within a faster timeframe, leading to an improved experience for patients and healthcare providers alike.

At the same time, leveraging cloud-based ERP systems and other underlying solutions lets healthcare organisations refresh their network, technological foundations and operational processes at a reduced cost. Cloud-based ERP systems let healthcare organisations streamline the processes involved in managing datasets without the added time, resources and costs involved in maintaining cumbersome on-premises legacy systems. This lets healthcare organisations provide a more streamlined solution for their workers without overcomplicating the system itself or the infrastructure it relies on to work. Additionally, this can filter down and lead to a more streamlined experience for patients.

The ongoing effects of COVID-19 have arguably heightened the need for healthcare workers to have continuous, reliable access to IT systems. Therefore, refreshing technological foundations will continue to be of crucial importance to healthcare organisations beyond 2021 and the coronavirus pandemic. As such, it’s critical that hospitals and healthcare leaders invest in updating their technology systems sooner rather than later. By moving towards cloud-based ERP systems now, healthcare organisations can stay ahead of any major technology upgrades in the future. The cloud will only continue to increase in importance, and legacy systems will continue to age and become less efficient as time goes on.

Even prior to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia recorded more than 461,000 full-time staff members working across more than 1300 public and private hospitals,1 delivering upwards of 30.9 million days of patient care yearly.2 With so many healthcare workers providing such a high level of patient care every day to Australians, there is an inherent need for hospitals and healthcare organisations to have appropriate systems in place to adequately support this work.

As the frontline in the fight against pandemics and other major health battles, it’s essential that healthcare organisations provide continuous, reliable access to IT systems for healthcare workers regardless of their location. Healthcare organisations must invest in refreshing their technological foundations sooner rather than later and take advantage of the opportunity to do so at a reduced cost without impacting ongoing operations. Cloud-based systems that let healthcare workers connect to relevant data and processes from anywhere at any time are key to helping them support patients throughout the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, in 2021 and beyond.

References
  1. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/themes/hospital-workforce
  2. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/hospitals/australias-hospitals-at-a-glance-2018-19/summary

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Drazen

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