The Enterprise Content Management Adoption Model
By Eric Merchant

7-15-2013 6-21-31 PM

There have been numerous publications recently about the amount of unstructured content that exists (80 percent of all content) in a non-discrete format outside of the electronic medical record. This unstructured content exists as digital photos, scanned documents, clinical images, and faxes and e-mails.

The challenge of capturing this information as close to the source as possible — managing it effectively and ultimately delivering it to the necessary physician, nurse, or other provider in a timely manner at the point of need — is a continuous uphill battle. There are varying degrees of being able to manage unstructured content and make it available to decision makers in a meaningful way to improve patient care, drive operational efficiencies, and improve financial performance in the healthcare market.

In developing a content strategy, the challenge is greater than simply buying a software suite and thinking your problems are over. As content grows in volume and complexity, the strategic plan needs to be flexible to be able to grow and adapt accordingly.

To do this, a reference is needed to determine where we were, where we are now and where we want to be. I began creating an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) adoption model as an internal point of reference, but also as a strategic guide for the industry. In practice, it would function similarly to the seven stages of the EMR adoption created by HIMSS Analytics.

ECM Adoption Model

Stage 10

Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) Integration: Ability to seamlessly integrate with VNA.

Stage 9

Federated Search: Ability to search content across the enterprise.

Stage 8

Information Exchange: Ability to share/publish content with external entities, social media, etc.

Stage 7

Analytics: Meaningful use of content.

Stage 6

Image Lifecycle Management (ILM): Ability to purge and archive.

Stage 5

Capture, Manage and Render Digital Content: Ability to capture photos, videos, audio, etc.

Stage 4

Intelligent Capture: Ability to use OCR and other techniques to extract/use data.

Stage 3

Integration: Ability to render content inside ERP, EMR, etc.

Stage 2

Workflow: Ability to use automated workflow to streamline processes.

Stage 1

Capture and Render Documents: Ability to scan/upload and retrieve documents.

Stage 0

All Paper: No document management system (DMS).

This adoption model can serve the healthcare industry well by allowing us to keep focused on the outcomes we want to achieve and the systems that would provide them. The adoption model also intertwines patient care initiatives (capture content and deliver within the EMR), operational efficiencies we need to achieve (federated search and analytics) and outcomes that will directly benefit healthcare organizations’ financial performance (intelligent capture, VNA and Image Lifecycle management).

In addition, this strategy also delivers on the commitment to support Meaningful Use and IHE data-sharing initiatives with the ability to share and publish unstructured content to information exchanges.

EMR systems have received the bulk of the attention the past few years due to the value they bring and the public policy and reimbursement implications of getting them successfully implemented. However, as the healthcare market becomes more electronically mature, we cannot lose focus on the larger picture and the bigger challenge and ultimately the patient. This picture is incomplete without bringing together both the unstructured content created outside the EMR and the discrete information within the EMR.

To do this, the ECM adoption model, in conjunction with the EMR adoption model, must both be used as a roadmap to reach that goal. ECM vendors must take the same approach that EMR vendors have taken and work hand in hand with healthcare organizations to provide the solutions to achieve Stage 10 of the ECM adoption model and ultimately move closer to a complete patient record, which subsequently creates better health outcomes delivered efficiently and in a financially solvent manner.

Eric Merchant is director of application services, health information technology, for NorthShore University HealthSystem of Skokie, IL.

Source: Readers Write: The Enterprise Content Management Adoption Model