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What is an ECM Category: Health IT by - June 16, 2013 | Views: 27186 | Likes: 1 | Comment: 0  

What is an ECM



If you are a healthcare practitioner you cannot escape the constant chatter about electronic medical records (EMR), electronic health records (EHR), and data security. What you may not hear much about is how other types of patient and healthcare business data are managed in a healthcare institution. Sean Morris, Director of Sales at Digitech Systems, shared his knowledge about ECMs with RxEconsult. 

What is an ECM

ECM means enterprise content management. ECM systems are software used in many industries to store and retrieve content. In a hospital or clinic, content includes billing documents, financing, receipts, faxes, emails, and other business and patient related documents that are valuable. ECM systems are used for automation and tracking of business processes. ECM software include scanning and storage solutions that handle paper and electronic content. 

How is ECM different from electronic medical record systems?

Many electronic medical record systems are designed for storage of medical records and do not include an ECM. ECMs are compatible with electronic medical record programs. 

Why do physician practices and hospitals need content management systems

Over the years many hospitals and clinics have generated paper documents that are taking up office space and are difficult to manage and retrieve. ECMs can help transfer paper content to a digital format, reducing clutter, freeing office space, and reducing the time spent searching for files.   

With the current regulatory environment surrounding patient records, healthcare establishments need solutions that make it easier for them to have all records and content in one place. 

ECM platforms can help reduce time spent storing and retrieving information, leading to increased efficiency which can improve the bottom line.  

What is driving the adoption of ECM systems?

The cost of adopting ECM technology has been significantly reduced, especially with the availability of cloud based systems. This is increasing the adoption of ECM by small to medium healthcare practices.

HIPPA has been a major driver of adoption of ECM because of the mandate for better patient data privacy. Although many healthcare practices have electronic medical records there are still plenty of paper documents. 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will add millions of patients into the healthcare system. Healthcare establishments will need to be more efficient to handle the increased demand for services and still comply with privacy laws. ECM technologies can help streamline processes without affecting excellent patient care.   

What do these systems cost?

For a small clinic with about 2 users the cost for set up and training for an on-premise system is approximately $1500. For cloud based systems the monthly fee is approximately $200 for a small clinic depending on how much server storage space is required. 

What should institutions look for when choosing a system or what are the steps for implementing a system?

Research online to find local ECM vendors.

Select manufacturers that have a long history and expertise in developing ECM platforms. 

Understand pricing models such as cloud storage, on-premise, per user fees and adding users.

Inquire about customer support from the vendor and the manufacturer.

Understand scalability and upgrade of new releases and products. Are upgrades free?  

What is the impact on the bottom-line

Many healthcare institutions have realized significant annual savings and increased productivity from implementing ECM systems. 

Examples of other ECM Manufacturers?  

Hyland Software

EMC Corporation

Resources for Learning about ECM


Digitech Systems


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