• Sep 02

    Versio Staff

    “Doctors were throwing monitors,” a Tale of EHR Go-Live Woes

    by  Versio Staff

    Over lunch recently, a colleague of mine regaled me with the story of a Go-Live one of our mutual clients had gone through before either of us was involved. After many months of preparation and untold dollars spent, at the point of launch things went, um ……well, let’s say things went sideways, namely monitors. Providers were so frustrated that they were literally throwing monitors across the room. Clearly, an implementation gone bad.

    What the heck happened?

    Certainly this client, one of the most prominent in the western U.S., had an army of smart people on the job. Certainly the vendor, also one of the most prominent in the industry, had a proven implementation methodology. Certainly the providers and clinical staff worked hard to learn the new system. So why, when the rubber met the road, was there so much angst?

    Another colleague of mine once told me, “A good idea is worth about twenty bucks. It’s all about execution.”

    With all the time, money and effort spent on transitioning to a new EHR, it’s an immense undertaking. There are thousands of decisions and tasks, all in anticipation of that magical Go-Live Day. The date is circled on the calendar and the countdown is prominently displayed: 75 days to Go-Live, 74 days to Go-Live. Everyone is focused on that launch. The anticipation and the anxiety build day by day.

    The problem is that so many implementations are geared toward Go-Live Day being the finish line, not the starting gate. So much energy is put into preparing for launch that there is little energy left to make sure the success sustains. Everyone wipes their brows and pats each other on the back, but when the wrap party is done and the analysts have all gone home, those on the front lines have to live with the system they likely had little say in building.

    Some of our clients share lessons they have learned:throwing-monitor.jpg

    1. Hire industry experts.

    2. Start simple and gradually build the complexity.

    3. Set it up right. Pre-populate charts with usable, accurate legacy data.

    4. Document and train on work flows, not just functions.

    5. Invest and re-invest in training: Before Go-Live, at Go-Live and ongoing.

    6. Allow for customization and flexibility.

    7. Set up optimization strategies that will go on indefinitely.

    So many implementations are geared toward Go-Live Day being the finish line, not the starting gate.

    So, does this story have a happy ending?

    Thankfully, yes. The client paused their rolling go-lives and invested in more training. Things calmed down and many a monitor’s life was spared. In 17 subsequent waves, this client had one of the most successful implementations in the country.

    With careful attention to life beyond Go-Live Day, the EHR and the human staff can live happily ever after…. at least until they move to a new EHR.

    Lisa Pike is the CEO of Versio, a healthcare technology company specializing in legacy data migration, with a proven track record of 100% data capture and 99.8% quality. For more information on Versio’s services, go to www.MyVersio.com or email sales@myversio.com. Remember: The monitor’s life you save may be your own!

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    Posted in Industry Information