Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Information Sharing Crucial to Meeting Europe's Tech Healthcare Goals

Research published by Ricoh Europe has revealed
that 81 per cent of healthcare professionals said their organisations
are investing in new technologies to be more productive and to enable
remote working. However, only two fifths (41 per cent) said they have
overcome the challenge of sharing information internally, and nearly two
thirds (62 per cent) said information sharing was worse, or just the
same as in 2009. The figures highlight the information sharing
challenges for the healthcare sector, as it seeks to meet the goals set
by the European Commission to improve the efficiency of healthcare
systems across Europe.

The findings are from 'A New Perspective: Ricoh Document Governance
Index'*, an independent study conducted by Coleman Parkes Research and
commissioned by Ricoh Europe. It provides a fresh perspective into how
business-critical document processes are being managed in healthcare,
education, legal, utilities/energy, public sector, retail, manufacturing
and financial services sectors. In healthcare such processes underpin
everything from operations such as finance, HR and procurement, to
patient records and drug/dispensary information.

The European Commission's Social Investment Package for Growth and
Cohesion, which was launched on 20th February 2013, explicitly states
the need to deliver 'cost efficiency through sound innovation and by
developing tools that better assess the performance of health systems'.
However for many healthcare establishments this may prove to be a
challenge. 95 per cent of respondents said the increasing amount of
information, from multiple sources, that they need to manage, is having
an impact on the way they work. Furthermore, more than half of
healthcare professionals (51 per cent) report that the collaboration
tools introduced have made the management of business critical documents
more difficult.

Effective information sharing processes, supported by technology
investment, can help deliver huge efficiency gains for organisations if
they are introduced alongside a process that enables integration with
existing systems. Carsten Bruhn, executive vice president, Ricoh Europe
says, "With the European Commission now setting targets for the cost
efficiency of healthcare systems, it is crucial that leaders across the
industry act now to ensure a planned, integrated approach to their
technology investments and information sharing tools, to meet these

The need for process innovation is further highlighted by the fact that
78 per cent said their organisations are investing in new technology
before realising the functionality of existing tools. Furthermore, once
these investments are made, 32 per cent of employees (non
c-level/directors) in the healthcare sector said they do not receive
full training when new technology is introduced. Finally, despite
investments in new technologies such as tablets and personal devices, 38
per cent believe their introduction has made the process of managing
business critical information even more complicated than it was before.

Bruhn added: "Both the European Commission and Europe's healthcare
sector recognise the importance of technology in helping to deliver
improved services through the more effective sharing of information.
The task is for industry leaders to effectively audit their document
processes and optimise them to better meet business-critical needs.
Such steps can have significant benefits and support healthcare
professionals to meet their ultimate goal - improving healthcare
outcomes for citizens across Europe."

Find out how connected business processes are by taking this survey, or
download the research series here.

Find out more about the European Commission's Social Investment Package
for Growth and Cohesion.