If you’re in the market for content management tools for your hospital or health system because you’re looking to improve staff productivity or reduce filing and storage costs, you’re making the same decision countless other organizations across the country have made—the decision to go paperless.

However, considering the sheer number of providers of content management tools, choosing the right system for your hospital or health system can be a complicated, oftentimes challenging process. It’s also a process that shouldn’t be made hastily, as the content management tools you choose now will likely be with you for years to come.

After all, its important to remember that content management tools are more than just “online storage,” and offer more than just a place to keep your documents. By imaging and indexing your documents, there are a number of additional tasks organizations can utilize with content management software, such as:

  • Storing various document types
  • Searching the entire library by keyword
  • Sharing documents with coworkers, clients, etc.
  • Accessing, editing, and sharing via mobile device
  • Creating new files within the system that can be edited and shared
  • Tracking and retrieving edits made to documents
  • Restricting access to certain documents
  • Creating an audit trail of who has viewed certain documents
  • Controlling when out-of-date documents can be deleted

Most businesses rely on documentation. There are few industries that wouldn’t benefit from content management tools—and the healthcare industry is not one of those. The recent transition to ICD-10, the Affordable Care Act, and institutions like HIPAA and HCFA ensure that you’ll have no shortage of regulatory paperwork. The organization and management of these can be made much more efficient by adopting content management tools that are right for you.

So, before you go out and decide on a provider, consider these following questions.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Your Content Management Tools

Begin by questioning yourself. The following list of questions will help you determine what you expect to get out of a content management system, and will help you get some relevant answers you’ll need to know before reaching out to a vendor.

  • What are you looking for? Are you looking for just an imaging system, just document management software, or both?
  • What are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish with the document management system you choose? Efficiency? Productivity? Cost-effectiveness? Compliance?
  • How many users will need to access the system? Will your entire hospital or health system be using the system? Or just certain departments?
  • How many documents will need to be scanned? On a daily, weekly, monthly basis? This will help determine your future scanning needs.
  • Do you have remote locations? Will these need remote access to the system? If so, you may want to consider a cloud-based system, rather than one based on your own in-house server.

Questions to Ask Vendors

After determining the answers to the questions above, you’ll be more prepared when discussing options and negotiating price with your potential vendors. When talking with them, consider asking the following questions to gauge their fit and their expertise.

  • How many other organizations does the vendor work with? Finding out how many (if any) hospitals/health systems a vendor works with will help you make sure you choose a vendor with experience in your industry.
  • Is the vendor’s software equipped for the future? Does its architecture support mobile access and does it have a modern web browser?
  • Does it integrate with other software? If you utilize Electronic Health Records, can it integrate on this front? What about other software you use in your administration, billing, HR, and so on?
  • Is it scalable? Every business should have plans for growth—does the software the vendor provides offer scalability for the future? Can the system scale to different departments at your organization?

Other Features to Look for in Content Management Tools

And of course, these questions are just starting points for choosing the right vendor for your content management needs. As mentioned earlier, there are a number of additional features document management systems offer. Check out the list below and take note of any features that you think will be necessary for your ultimate choice in vendors.

  • Intuitive filing structure
  • Collaboration capabilities
  • Cloud-based access
  • Compliance measures
  • Disaster recovery data backup
  • Custom user settings
  • Functional scanning capability
  • Usable search features
  • Editing capabilities
  • Digital signature capabilities