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Mar 17, 2015 12:00:00 AM · by Dave Wolfe

Are you getting the most out of consultants when implementing a new application?

Healthcare is a world of continual change and adaptation. The conversion from one clinical/financial/pharmacy system to another system, while focusing on patient care, impacts the entire organization. Such a conversion requires investment in resources, capital, and time. It can result in a re-engineering of your workflow processes and optimizing the delivery of patient care within the constraints of the new system. 

In the white paper entitled Healthcare System Conversions – Key Points To Consider, we outlined three types of conversions (System Upgrade, New Platform/Same Vendor, and New Platform/New Vendor) and five points to consider when planning for a system conversion.  

(Click Here To Download)

  • Version Upgrade (Same Vendor)
  • Conversion to New Platform (Same Vendor)
  • Conversion to New Platform (New Vendor)

Conversion to New Platform (New Vendor)

By leveraging outside expertise for the maintenance and optimization of the current system, the hospital can reassign key resources to the implementation of the new application. The same philosophy holds true with implementation of the new application. Due to the complexity and needs of the project, the use of experienced outside consultants plays a key role in meeting project objectives and timelines.   The key is to leverage the expertise of the consultant in collaboration with the hospital team and the vendor.

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Where/How to Engage Outside Resources:

 Maintenance of Current Application:

There are routine daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance activities in which the organization engages. The outside resources play a key role in maintenance of the existing system while identifying optimization opportunities. Identifying small improvements in system “usability” enhances end-user satisfaction while using the existing system for day-to-day operations. Outside resources can support the hospital staff with the following:

Recommended Daily/Weekly Maintenance

  • Validate that weekly scheduled tasks have completed
  • Validate day-end processing has been completed
  • Review and manage error queues

System Maintenance

  • New drug additions
  • New order sets, predefined orders built
  • NDDF/Multum updates installed, reviewed, and implemented
  • Management of change control process

System Optimization

  • Development of change control processes and domain management.
  • Training and documentation on the core use of the system (knowledge enhancement)
  • Reporting development for Meaningful Use requirements and system optimization
  • Developing alerts and rules
  • Measuring utilization of the orders and order sets
    • Are the order sets being used by the providers? If not, why? Is there a training issue? Do the order sets need to be modified for more effective utilization?
  • Improving drug order search – grouping like orders together, unassigning orders that are part of a larger order set to clean up the “clutter” in the order search
  • Integrating evidence-based practice into the order sets

Implementation Support of new Application:

Outside resources with expertise in the new system provide guidance and support of the implementation. These consultants have experience with the new application and a very short start-up curve. These resources play key roles in the following areas:

Build

  • Knowledge and guidance of how and what to build

Integration

  • Understanding how the modules/components impact each other.

Report writing

  • Unique skill set to assist with building efforts and development of maintenance and management reports

Testing

  • Understanding what the expected outcome is and the ability to troubleshoot as needed

Training

  • Development of training materials specific for your organization
  • Assistance with training the end-user

Go-live support

  • “At the elbow” support of end-users. 
  • Tracking, troubleshooting, and resolving issues

Post go-live support

  • Maintenance and change management process development and implementation

Conclusion:

The ideal firm has consultants with experience on the existing platform, as well as experience with the implementation and use of the new platform. Leverage these resources to identify optimization opportunities for the existing platform and engage them in the design of the new application with this optimization in mind.  

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CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment to discuss your needs with HealthcareIS.

Dave Wolfe

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