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A perfectly executed go-live event signals the launch of a new system, commonly an Electronic Health Records (EHR). It’s a major milestone in any hospital’s IT modernization program. By the time the go-live kicks off, hundreds-of-thousands - if not millions - of dollars have already been spent, along with countless hours of work. Project plans, communications plans, technology build and implementations, change management plans, stakeholder analysis, executive buy-ins, financial models, and endless meetings with leaders, managers, clinical staff and IT members have occurred. As such, the go-live must go smoothly.

A go-live is the culmination of significant investments of time, effort and money, and its success will be measured in staff adoption, impact on finances and the value it brings to patients. The consequence of an unsuccessful go-live is considerable, nearly uncalculatable, and certainly not acceptable for any healthcare organization.

Preparation is key, and must cover all aspects of the implementation. Time allocated for staff to become familiar with new tasks, and having support resources available during the entire period, for example, is essential for successfully adopting a new EHR.

One tip is to include testing to ensure all EHR builds are complete, which includes testing to ensure hardware, software and network interfaces are compatible, as well as that backup and downtime procedures are in place. Finally, time needs to be scheduled to ensure staff is trained on new applications and have access credentials.

Driving Adoption at Novant
With so much on the line, it’s crucial for hospitals to understand the process and make decisions about the level of autonomy that support teams and consultants will have. Planning and analysis starts with a solid understanding of the client or hospital challenges. For example, with EPIC selected as its new EHR system, a hospitals’ management team can turn its attention to selecting a rollout strategy that leads to fewer interruptions and a faster ROI. Partnering with an organization like Leidos, hospitals can successfully execute large scale go-lives.

Leidos recently helped multiple hospitals in North and South Carolina under the Novant Health System, which includes multiple surgery centers. Leidos helped Novant augment their staff with 250 qualified EPIC users, driving a high-user adoption rate of the new software. Novant Health knew it was critical that the transition be seamless, and that the go-live experience was positive for all employees. Attempting to execute with too few knowledgeable staff often leads to issues and mistrust of the software. The Leidos team ensured that all goals were met.

The recruiting team conducted a Needs Assessment early on to confirm the 250-headcount was adequate. This analysis also helps determine if supplemental or specialized support is needed. Another “best-practices” technique that Leidos does is to visit all locations and conduct interviews to understand the various departments’ differing schedules, needs, and cultures. The dedicated recruiting team from Leidos then went to work finding the right people to support each location. Moreover, several complex EPIC modules required individuals with unique skills, which Leidos was able to secure.

Adding to the project’s complexity were the sizable logistical requirements of managing travel logistics and expenses, and locating housing for 250 professionals coming from all parts of the country. Five separate hotels were needed to house staff, with buses rented to transport them to and from hospitals. In addition to onsite project coordinators and leads, Leidos also managed travel agents, contract recruiters, billing and administrative staff, and all onboarding team members. Only that level of detail, honed from years of experience, could ensure a highly successful go-live for the Novant Health System.

Read part 2 here.

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Best Practices for a Successful EHR Go-Live

Learn how to ensure a smooth transition for a Go-Live support team, avoid common go-live challenges, drive and streamline EHR adoption by clinicians, patients and staff, and more.


Mark Dermott has more than 30 years of executive and leadership experience in the healthcare and staffing industry. Mark has held roles in homecare, healthcare IT consulting, and commercial staffing, including M&A, franchising, startups, and strategic alliances. Mark has a consistent record of enhancing sales, margin, and profit growth in both start-up and large businesses over $500M. Mark is currently the Go-Live Practice Vice-President for Leidos Health. In 5 years he has built the practice from the ground-up and delivered over 460 separate Go-Live projects and created a top ranked service by KLAS. Mark and his team are routinely implementing best practices for successful Go-Live while keeping ideal methodology, resource allocation, and budgeting in mind. In 2016 Mark and his team delivered over 63 separate go-lives projects with a year end KLAS score of 92.7.