How cloud-based management software will save you time and money
Traditional software solutions are quickly being replaced by cloud-based best-in-class software suites, but are they the best choice for EMS agencies
The following is paid sponsored content by EMS Technology Solutions
By Robert Avsec for EMS1 BrandFocus
In the ever-evolving world of emergency management, EMS leaders must constantly look for ways to operate their agency more efficiently and cost-effectively. Investing in cloud-based, best-in-class software solutions that can be built around each agency’s unique operational needs is a great place to start.
Each agency is different, so I talked with a field expert to discuss how cloud-based software solutions create operational efficiencies across an organization. Compared to traditional desktop software and all-in-one solutions not tailored to an EMS agency’s specific needs, a cloud-based software solution or hosted environment can be flexible in providing the tools an agency needs to get the job done right.
The cons of traditional software
In the past, EMS agencies looking to bring automation to their operations looked for off the shelf desktop solutions or all-in-one software packages.
The thinking was that these pre-packaged solutions were the most cost-effective approach to their desire for better operational management, said E.J. Aufderheide, president and COO of EMS Technology Solutions. The company provides cloud-based software for inventory management, equipment tracking, fleet maintenance and narcotics chain of custody logs.
But unfortunately, an off-the-shelf system desktop solution tend to create operational challenges as these locally installed programs often require more IT support resources to maintain, provide roadblocks to sharing information unless all users have the same programs installed, and don’t evolve with the rapidly changing business trends we are seeing today, Aufderheide said.
If all agencies were exactly the same, a one size fits all approach with bundled software packages, or all-in-one solutions, may be an option. Instead, all-in-one solution restrict an agency’s ability to tailor the software to their operation’s needs, often forcing them to pay for features they don’t need or that don’t work well because all in-one-solutions are great in some aspects and highly lacking in others.
Agencies enter in to all-in-one solutions with the expectation that functionality will get better. In reality they improve at a much slower pace than best-in-class solutions because of the endless stream of ideas that need to be filtered down before making changes to the applications. All-in-one solution providers lack the focus to manage the software evolution process well.
“The individual applications in all-in-one solutions lack the development focus to deliver the desired functionality resulting in operational challenges that far outweigh the lower cost of best-in-class solutions,” he said.
The pros of best-in-class solutions
Agencies today work with multiple software solution vendors to identify individual applications and integration points with other applications, Aufderheide said.
Purchasing required applications separately gives the purchaser more flexibility to choose the best applications and customize them to best fit their operational requirements, Aufderheide said. This includes applications for managing staff, conducting patient care reports, dispatching resources and managing equipment and supply.
“The best-in-class approach enables an EMS agency leader to take a planned approach, purchase individual applications one at a time and implement them over a period of time to achieve the plans results,” he said.
Planning a best-in-class system lets the EMS manager take a global look at their operation to identify their pain points, meaning those operational issues that are reducing efficiencies or creating significant managerial challenges.
An EMS manager may choose to solve their biggest problem first. For example, addressing supply inventory management to streamline purchases and reduce operational waste can help an agency achieve a greater ROI more quickly. Or, they may choose to implement a solution for the tracking of narcotics and other medications to drive compliance with regulatory requirements and reduce risk.
The efficiencies generated by the cloud
The best part of a cloud-based, or Software as a Service (SaaS), model is that it saves time and money; plus, data can be managed and accessed securely anywhere.
Aufderheide said for example his company’s cloud-based software, Operative IQ, requires minimal IT management resources as it is easily accessed from a web browser or mobile device. Updates are periodically pushed to clients that bring new features and applications to keep up with the changing environment.
This means managers and crew alike can spend more time focused on their job functions and less time managing technology. As more solutions move to the cloud it also means systems can interoperate with third-party providers.
“With cloud integration, we can work with multiple vendors and their products to provide the customer capability to manage and share their data on a seamless and as-needed basis,” he said.
Cloud-based management software suite lets EMS agencies build out a system that addresses their unique needs, and integrate with existing systems when necessary. It is the most effective way on the market for EMS agencies to manage their businesses processes.
For more information about operations management software, contact EMS Technology Solutions.