10 key ingredients to a successful EHR go-live

  • September 19 2017, 4:00am EDT

10 key ingredients to a successful EHR go-live

After a healthcare organization has decided on a new EHR, strategically planning for implementation and go-live are important steps to achieve the highest return on investment and ensure provider satisfaction. While simply turning the application on is a big step, such a large investment should also include careful, tailored execution with “at-the-elbow” support to harness the EHR’s full potential. The EHR clinician support team of the Advisory Board Company offers the following tips culled from hundreds of go-lives.

1. Put a face to the go-live

The best go-lives have hospital and physician champions who embrace a visible role in the go-live. The active involvement of a C-suite level executive validates the initiative, and it acknowledges the major milestone of going live after years of planning.

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2. Understand how to support your clinicians

Clinicians may question the need or usefulness of required EHR training. Take a step back to determine how to train your clinicians on the EHR functionality they’ll use, and how best to deliver that training.

3. Consider a balance of clinician and non-clinician support

Clinicians, particularly physicians, prefer to receive “at the elbow” support from colleagues. Invest in a mix of both clinicians and non-clinicians to support the staff at this time of high anxiety. Clinical support personnel have an appreciation for the difference in workflows for different specialties.

4. Invest in a personalization lab

A personalization lab is a “just-in-time” approach to training through which clinicians can ask questions in a no-pressure, low-anxiety environment. Personalization enables clinicians to make the system theirs, in a way that’s similar to customizing a new smartphone.

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5. Develop super users

Plan for the end of go-live support by developing a core team of EHR super users within the own organization. A super user group consisting of clinical and non-clinical staff paves the way for a smooth transition into EHR stabilization and optimization.

6. Set realistic goals for productivity post go-live

Be honest with staff about productivity expectations and the resulting financial implications following go-live. Monitor productivity in the weeks following go-live to identify staff that may need supplemental training and where they will need help getting back to pre-go live productivity.

7. Determine minimum acceptable documentation standards

Defining minimum requirements prevents bad documentation habits and workarounds from forming. Communicate these standards during training, and reinforce them during personalization lab sessions.

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8. Define and hardwire specialty-specific workflows

It’s important to communicate to staff that the EHR will continue to grow and change to best suit specialties’ needs. Continue to evaluate and tweak custom workflows both pre- and post go-live.

9. Provide clear directions for command center operations

Think of a command center as an air traffic control center during the first weeks of go-live, staffed by clinical and non-clinical staff. Create concise prioritization matrixes to identify critical issues that should be escalated in the enhancement queue.

10. Learn from previous go-live experiences

Be honest with the organization by leveraging institutional memory of past go-lives. Publicly acknowledge the challenges of past implementations, and address them with a clear plan.