How to Ensure You Have the Right Resources for Your Cerner Implementation

Jun 23, 2016 11:22:47 AM · by David Kushan

Implementing Cerner’s EHR platform successfully requires a skilled team with extensive experience managing these types of complex projects.

Here are a few tips for how can you put this team in place and ensure the process goes smoothly.

Look to the Past

Before you start hiring project staff or creating an action plan, it’s useful to review other major changes your healthcare system has undergone in the past. Have you supervised the rollout of a new software? Did you change a system-wide policy? Did you go through a major merger or acquisition?

Implementing a new EHR system will affect the entire organization. If you’ve made large-scale changes before, then there are lessons you can learn from those efforts. Do your research — review project notes, talk to team leads, and chat with colleagues from other systems. If things went poorly, ask what could have been done better. If things went well, try and understand the reasons why. All of this information will be helpful for your implementation team as you roll out Cerner.

Find the Right Team Size

One of the first challenges you’ll face as you prepare for a Cerner EHR Implementation is determining the size of the team you’ll need.

If you have a team that’s too large, you risk spending money that doesn’t need to be spent, increasing your administrative burden, and causing confusion by having too many competing voices. However, if your team is too small, or doesn’t have the right experience or skills, then you’ll run into delays, rushed work, and the potential for disaster.

The trick to choosing a team that’s just right is to carefully evaluate the scope of the project and build a detailed budget. Knowing what needs to be done and how much money you can spend on the project will allow you to determine exactly what resources will be necessary.

A typical Cerner implementation team includes project management, IT support, software analysts, and quality control analysts. Having enough resources working on every part of the project will help you ensure your system is fully operational before you go live.

Don’t Interrupt Operations

The havoc wreaked by network downtime has been well documented. Outages and software errors put your patients, not to mention your bottom line, at risk. The risks of these kinds of operational interruptions are much higher if your workforce is spread thin.

Therefore, it is considered a best practice to primarily rely on a Cerner implementation team that is solely dedicated to that project, rather than trying to pull resources from your existing IT team. Expecting the current IT staff to help out with the implementation, train on the new system themselves, and maintain existing operations is too much. Instead, it’s wise to choose professionals who are experts in EHR implementations, and have them handle the heavy lifting, while your current staff focuses on learning Cerner so they are fully prepared once it launches.

Communicate With End Users

On one level, implementing an EHR system is an informatics challenge. Most of the leg work that will need to be done involves solving technical problems, and your implementation team will be mostly comprised of IT professionals.

However, leaving an implementation of this size exclusively in the hands of your technology department poses a lot of risk. Your EHR software will eventually be used by every doctor, nurse, pharmacist, and other provider in your healthcare system, as well as your RCM department. Getting input from these end users will be critical to making your implementation a success.

No matter which way you look at it, implementing Cerner for your organization is a big task. However, carefully selecting the right resources for your project team can make it as simple and easy as possible.

Learn what it takes to master the complicated process of implementing the Cerner EHR platform into your organization. Download the eBook.

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