Top three lessons to learn before an EHR go-live
Few events can measure-up to the stress levels felt by most hospital staffs during a Go-Live event. Go-Live is a period defined as the point in which a hospital launches a new technology solution and prepares for issues, optimizes the system, brings the old system down and hopes that clinical staff adopts to the new technology.
Generally, the new system being launched during a Go-Live period is an Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR). These robust platforms aggregate and centralize all systems of records containing patient data, thereby creating a single solution to support an improved patient-centric focus.
By the time hospitals prepare for the Go-Live date, they have generally invested 18 to 24 months of resource time on a technology build, and commonly have spent between $5 million and $10 million in costs. With so much on the line, there are a few key best-practice procedures that hospital leaders need to understand in order to ensure a successful Go-Live, and to help drive a better EHR adoption:
1. When in doubt, communicate
One of the most important activities that a hospital can conduct before, during and after a Go-Live is communication. Before the Go-Live, a strong communication plan can be the most effective implementation weapon by laying the foundation and tone of the Go-Live, level-setting expectations for the hospital staff and clinicians, and preparing the accessibility and materials that the 200 to 300 Go-Live teams will need in the coming weeks.
During the Go-Live, a constant communication plan that shows clinician and executive support for the EHR can help drive complete user adoptions and improve the success of the implementation. After the Go-Live, a transparent communication plan focused on the benefits of the EHR, testimonials of subsequent benefits, and updates on optimization activities can further help galvanize the use of the new EHR.
2. Start Early
It’s crucial for a hospital implementation team to start planning a Go-Live well before the launch. There’s a veritable laundry list of activities that must be mapped out in unison with the Go-Live vendor. The hospital implementation team needs to determine the clinicians and staff who may need more attention with training, along with the schedules of all the staff to make sure they can get the proper training and support they need.
Additionally, hospital implementation leaders need to map and understand complex workflows, as well as determine how those workflows will interact with the new EHR. Lastly, hospital implementation leaders need to provide the Go-Live teams all the logistical support they need to get started on the Go-Live date with minimal interruptions.
3. Get a little help from your friendly, local Clinical Support Desk
Among the Go-Live planning items that should happen early in the process, hospital implementation teams need to spend some time focusing on their IT help desk. Specifically, hospitals shouldn’t underestimate the call volumes that can occur without proper planning as soon as a Go-Live support staff leaves.
Generally, three to four weeks after a Go-Live, the entire EHR and Go-Live teams leave and the hospital IT help desk. At that point, the internal tier 2 support staff needs to take care of a large group of clinicians and staff struggling with EHR and workflow issues. During this time, call centers can go from fielding 500 calls a week to well over 2,500 calls or more. This scalability can stress an important element of the adoption support needed for a new EHR.
Despite these impending call volumes, hospitals can do a lot of mitigating this issue if they include the services of an external Clinical Support Desk after a Go-Live. A CSD needs to be budgeted ahead of time, but their added temporary services can make a significant difference in the adoption of a new EHR.
Best Practices for a Successful EHR Go-Live
Even though few events are as stressful to a hospital as a Go-Live, following the tips listed above can help when in launching a new technology solution like an EHR, ushering in a new era of patient-focused healthcare.