When to Engage your Project Manager
EMR projects are complicated and thus need a strong leader. So why do some hospitals wait until after signing the EMR contract to bring on a Project Manager? Many hospitals don’t realize how much value an experienced PM can provide, even before the project officially begins.
The Value of Hiring a Good PM Early on
The benefit of having a qualified Project Manager during the selection process (or at least during contract negotiation) is undeniable. Keep in mind: EMR vendors negotiate contracts every day. They also implement systems every day. Hospitals don’t. If you don’t have an experienced PM in your corner preparing your organization for the project, you are at a significant disadvantage. You will benefit from having someone in your camp early on. The right PM can help identify what it will take to complete the project. They will clarify the project’s scope, establish the right teams, and set a realistic timeline.
Atlanticon’s TOP FIVE steps to get your EMR projects off to a healthy start
- >Draft the contract with your EMR vendor so that it protects you. Insist on a minimum required skillset for all vendor personnel on your project. Outline the frequency of their on-site visits. Insert expectations for issue resolution. Agree on appropriate penalties for missed deliveries. Address timing of hardware delivery and support for connectivity. Document how your data will be migrated.
- >Identify the teams and people you will need throughout the project and assign them specific tasks and responsibilities. Will you need someone to address form changes, policies and procedures, testing, equipment, interfaces, charging, report development, or government regulations? You will have dozens of sub-teams–if you fail to allocate people to cover them all, you could end up missing some key steps.
- >Start tracking your issues immediately. Teams that don’t document all issues and carefully manage them to resolution will face significant challenges throughout the entire project. Problems don’t go away, but the time you have to deal with them certainly does. Get an issue-tracking system that helps you keep your roadblocks under control. If you can’t afford one, call Atlanticon. We’ll give you a free copy of HITS, our custom-developed Hospital Issue Tracking System.
- >Develop a scope document that not only details what you purchased, but how and where you intend to use it. Take Clinical Documentation for example. Spelling out which units, departments, and clinics will utilize it, and how, are basic elements to defining a clear scope. In addition, insist that all stakeholders and project personnel sign off on the completed scope document, and ensure the vendor is included. When everyone is on the same page, you will avoid ‘Scope Creep’ and help keep your project on track.
- >Follow a manageable plan. Many hospitals are overwhelmed by the thought of a large project plan and so end up not developing one at all. This is a big mistake. Your project plan doesn’t need to be 5,000 lines long, but it does need to contain those key items which will allow you to manage effectively—remember, you can add details later. Examples of major items could be delivery of software, connection of interfaces, development of testing strategy, or dates for testing. These are just some of the milestones that must be met in order to keep your project on track. Start with the big items and add details as you move along—but always follow a plan!
Atlanticon’s Project Management Services
Atlanticon offers a number of exceptional Project Management services to both get your project moving and familiarize your team with the fundamentals of project management.
- >Project Coaching: an 8-hour session during which your team learns how to effectively manage multiple projects through the use of specific, targeted steps. We help you establish a scaled-down version of a PMO and provide you with tools at no cost, including a guide tailored to your organization.
- >Project Setup: a 4-hour session that serves as a crash course to prepare you for an EMR project. We talk about the major events you’ll face, some of the largest challenges, and how you can best prepare yourself for a large undertaking by seizing control of your project early on in the process.
- >Traditional Project Management: we have an excellent roster of Project Managers poised to serve as your PM. We follow a unique methodology that is geared 100% toward EMR projects. We become your advocate and project leader.
- >Project Oversight: if you have a solid PM at your site but could still benefit from scheduled visits to mentor and monitor, we can do that! With Project Oversight, we guide your PM through strategy and implementation, giving them the confidence boost they need to succeed.
We conduct EMR projects nonstop. It’s what we do! Our PMs are capable of managing any type of health system project. We bring out your strengths so you can get the job done efficiently and effectively. We welcome any conversation regarding your projects. There’s no cost to call us to discuss your challenges. You can reach us at Business.Services@Atlanticon.net.