- System Selection
- Contract Negotiation
- Project Setup
- Scoping & Planning
- Design & Build
- Activation Planning
- Go Live Support
Sometimes the first decision is the most crucial. How do you select the best system for the entire organization? Do you have the manpower, time and experience to make an informed decision? System Selection is critical to the success of the organization from both a financial and clinical perspective. Bringing in an outside and unbiased leader that can follow a proven methodical approach to system selection is a proven way to ensure you understand what you need, what you are paying for and when all is said and done, will perform as promised. Atlanticon has created a team approach that involves key decision makers and front line staff working together. We provide the team with critical questions from a wide array of areas to ensure we uncover the true need of what the systems need to deliver.
For those of you who are about to initiate an EHR vendor contract, your time to clarify some basic expectations is now. In addition to the legal review required of all contracts, you as an IT or Project person will be living with the contract throughout the entire life cycle. You can benefit by adding some commonly overlooked items before the contract is final. Once the contract is signed and your project begins, you are locked into the terms. While each contract is vastly different, we have several tips that should be considered. By covering these in the contract, you will have better control as a customer.
Most of the time, we notice that most sites develop Charters, Scopes and Implementation Visions—nicely bound and impressive to view from a distance. But once they were written, they collected dust and were never referenced again—certainly not what most would consider useful project documents. The problem was that very few people ever referenced these items, and they were not widely shared among the stakeholders, let alone the project team. We also noticed that vendors would provide a Scope Document as part of the purchase. These Scope Documents stated WHAT you bought, but did nothing to state HOW you would use them in your organization. Integrated systems are highly flexible, and how you choose to use them can vary greatly from hospital to hospital.
Scoping & Planning
We all know what they say about failing to plan. Many think of planning as the development of a project plan—but it’s more. Don’t overlook the many pieces that go into proper management of the project. Starting a project without conducting a thorough setup phase is like leaving for your vacation but forgetting to pack. There are many right ways to plan for a project, and Atlanticon understands that our job is to help you implement the best way for you. One approach doesn’t work for everyone—what may be overkill at one site may be overly simple at another. We specialize in ensuring that you have the right team structure, communication plan, working paper methods, issue management system, an appropriate project plan from which you can manage and dozens of other key steps in place to allow your PM to move forward with confidence.
Design & Build
Designing a system is a critical step. Most teams are learning the new system as they go. Make sure you build time for your team to fully understand the system and its options before they make key design decisions. Atlanticon realizes that you can’t design a system if you don’t understand its capabilities and limitations. We encourage a thorough learning period of your new system and an appropriately detailed workflow session, which outlines how your departments in the current state. The design outcome should be a side-by-side view of current and future state, with your vendor confirming that their system can perform as you expect it to. Tailoring should not commence until you are comfortable.
Testing can become complicated when script developers jump into detail too soon. Testing also suffers when there is no way to assess your success. How do you know that you’ve tested enough? We recognize testing for what it is—the most crucial point in the project where all your efforts are finally scrutinized in an orchestrated way. Atlanticon starts with a Testing Strategy, helping you understand what level of testing is appropriate for your project. We then help you ease your way into script development by focusing on your test conditions, moving into colorful scenarios and ending with workable scripts. We help guide you through test management, script handling, issue resolution and monitor your test effectiveness.
When Atlanticon is asked to lead a training effort, we begin with our in-depth training strategy and customize it for every client. Training is no easy phase and often over looked; as many of our clients realize, several items and areas may need to be addressed by our training experts. Our training strategy has been utilized and revised over the years by other senior consultants. As you approach your training phase, it is best to assign a Training Leader that is a veteran of training and who has exceptional organizational skills. This individual will be responsible for putting together the Training Strategy. Since each hospital is vastly different, the training strategy can vary. What works for one may not work for another. Keep in mind that the strategy document should cover all the things you intend to do leading up to, and during training, and should be the document that guides your training team in the development of their approach.
Activations come at the end of many months of hard work. There’s a lot at stake; your activation should be well planned. With years of experience under our belts, we realize that there will always be some hiccups in the road with any activation. Don’t let poor planning and ill preparation be the cause. Atlanticon’s senior consultants have laid the important groundwork for the way your activations should be planned and executed.
Go Live Support
After several months of hard work, you finally turn on your new system. All goes well—patient care picks up where it left off, new registrations start flowing, bills drop, meds are charted, and you find yourself standing with a large group of happy colleagues. It’s the dream of every project manager. If the implementation doesn’t go well, however, you may find yourself standing alone. While it may not have been your decision alone to go live, if things don’t go well, the blame may fall on your shoulders. We know that IT projects are group efforts. They don’t belong to IT and they don’t belong to the project manager. The success belongs to everyone—each department, each liaison, each analyst, each vendor rep, each director. If everyone is willing to share in the success, they must all be willing to share in the responsibility. Sometimes we frequently see a team divided at the first sign of a post-activation problem. But it doesn’t have to be that way—provided you implement a good Project Readiness Signoff document. Atlanticon is equipped with the expertise and support you need for going live.