We have recently seen explosive changes in the healthcare industry. With governmental legislation, healthcare went from being an industry with a built-in customer base to one in which hospitals, insurances and independent providers are now concerned with gaining consumer attention. In addition to all of these changes, the healthcare industry is also trying to determine the best way to reduce their printed output. In a previous DOCUMENT Strategy blog, an IDC business automation survey showed that 79% of healthcare respondents said that their organization had an initiative in place to reduce paper. Today, the healthcare industry continues to look for strategies for print and document management. In 2014, IDC issued its "IDC MaturityScape Benchmark: Print and Document Management" survey within the US to respondents who are influencers of document infrastructure and print operations in their organizations. The 96 respondents from the healthcare industry, specifically healthcare providers, and their responses show a vertical market that is ripe with opportunity to move to the next level of print and document management (PDM) maturity.

In general, US healthcare respondents are at lower levels of print and document maturity than other vertical industries in the United States. Over 16% of the healthcare population are at the Ad Hoc level for PDM maturity, compared to 6.2% of the whole population (for more information on the IDC MaturityScape, please see our previous blogs "Print and Document Management: How Mature is Your Organization" and "Survey Shows Companies Are Far from Reengineering Document-Intensive Business Processes"). Those that fall into this level of maturity most likely do not have any print and document management strategy. While PDM done in this fashion allows for day-to-day operations, it does not give healthcare providers a consolidated view of print- and document-related costs. Organizations at this maturity level take a siloed approach to PDM. This is even reflected in how survey participants distributed their budgets, with 47% of healthcare providers leaving PDM spending up to a department, business unit, site or division level, which is seven percent higher than the population as a whole.

While the prospect of overhauling a PDM system and bringing multiple departments together can seem overwhelming, there are benefits to moving to the next stages of maturity. When asked about the benefits of their PDM initiative, healthcare providers indicated higher employee productivity/satisfaction and reduction of risk/increasing compliance as more important than the population as a whole. Additionally, 51.7% of healthcare providers saw overall cost savings from their print management programs. Such efficiencies often begin to show themselves when organizations have reached the Managed level of maturity—which means organizations have deployed PDM throughout the organization, including departmental collaboration for support, tracking and optimization for remote and mobile workers.

In addition to the healthcare industry being full of opportunity for improved PDM strategies, it is also an industry with minimal penetration from third-platform technologies, such as mobile. IDC found that only 15% of respondents used their smartphones or tablets to enable print or document management tasks. Considering the proliferation of mobile in healthcare for doctor use, growth in wearable health technology and the push for the digitization of healthcare records, it is rather shocking that mobile for document management is not being used. Using mobile solutions or services for document management in healthcare can provide not only improved workflows for document management but provide improved clarity on how documents move through an organization, especially on employee-liable mobile devices.

When looking to the next steps of document and print management for healthcare, one thing is clear. Fewer healthcare institutions and providers are proactively developing a PDM system than in other industries and are missing opportunities for a range of benefits, from additional cost savings to competitive advantage. Those health organizations that can help bring their own workplaces into the next phase of maturity for PDM will be likely seen as influencers within the various areas of the healthcare market.

Arianna Valentini is a senior research analyst on IDC's Hardcopy Industry Transformation and Page Volume Analysis research team. She is responsible for developing core service deliverables and custom research projects for clients, with a focus on how IDC's third platform is effecting industry transformation within the hard copy market. Ms. Valentini's areas of expertise include mobile technology, digital publishing software, brand strategy, market and trend analysis. Follow her on Twitter @LilVPrinterMC.

 

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