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Demand for ERP in healthcare driven by data growth, complexity of care

by Bridget McCrea
Contributing Writer,

In an era where healthcare organizations are under constant pressure to save money and operate more efficiently, an increasing number of them are turning to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems like Microsoft Dynamics to help them achieve those goals.

From their ERPs, healthcare organizations are gaining cost savings, greater efficiencies, and the ability to streamline their operations across different departments and geographic locations. They're also benefitting from easier healthcare data storage and management - both of which are becoming cumbersome tasks as medical data becomes increasingly unstructured.

"Never before have we married structured data with the unstructured content that might include text documents, data streams from devices (such as glucometers and monitors) and social media data. Therefore, we are charting a new course that requires discovery, interpretation and adjustments," writes Lorraine Fernandes of IBM's information management group. IBM puts the amount of "unstructured but clinically relevant" medical data at 80%.

Investing in a new generation of healthcare IT

Enter the ERP - a system that helps increase efficiency by facilitating processes such as the transfer of patient information, the management of data archives, and the ongoing shift of healthcare records from paper to electronic storage.

Damon Auer, vice president, healthcare at Tampa, Fla.-based Tribridge, says he has seen an interest in ERP pick up within the healthcare field over the last 5-6 years in terms of new implementations.

"ERP technology has become important to healthcare providers," he says, in particular for those organizations contemplating the replacement of existing clinical systems.

And while Auer says that currently just a small number of clinical system vendors provide an integrated ...

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About Bridget McCrea

Bridget McCrea covers business and technology topics for various publications. She can be reached at

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