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Successful deployment of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) across multiple sites requires significant planning and coordination. Doctors and nurses often struggle to adjust to a new process and technology, and the technical teams are often “on-edge” trying to address any last-minute glitches. The expectation is always that the new EHR will conform to all complex workflows, and leaders are hoping that the adoption happens quickly so that costs can return to normal. Launching a new system, however, often fails to come-off without a hitch- and represents a tense time for a hospital or a clinic.

At the epicenter of this event is the quality of the temporary healthcare consultants recruited to help launch and drive adoption of the EHR. Despite the benefits that effective portfolio and project management have to an EHR launch within healthcare, without the proper people these methodologies and tools often fall flat in delivering the desired results of an EHR go-live.

A two-pronged approach aimed at (one) drawing and retaining top talent and (two) supplementing the EHR implementation with a Clinical Support Desk (CSD) is essential in driving ultimate EHR adoption.

Recruiting and Retaining

Recruiting top-talent is in large part due to reputation and effective brand management. At Leidos we provide prospective healthcare consultants with a sound, transparent brand that mirrors Leidos’ reputation as a leader within the healthcare industry. A large part of this brand reputation stems from our ability to humanize our workplace, and the efforts we make to have a simple and easy application process.

As a result, once an EHR engagement is initiated we can usually find the best talent in days, not weeks.  We also have a pool of preferred consultants that we can draw upon in hours. This pool of preferred consultants echoes our ability to identify and retain the best talent. At Leidos Health we have a comprehensive understanding and evaluation of our consultants.    

To help retain that top talent we offer consistent coaching and mentoring and draw upon training to help continue to motivate our pool of consultants. Helping consultants improve their skills is an effective way to build engagement and commitment for our implementations.

Offering classes and training also helps mitigate the stress of working in a chaotic environment like healthcare EHR implementations, which requires travel and long hours. The approach toward continuous training is bolstered by our commitment to help drive alignment, guidance and motivation when it comes to interacting with our consultants. It also helps us analyze and address talent-gaps which leads to more effective client engagement.

Support from the CSD

Clinical Support Desks are another great way to help drive EHR adoption and extend the support provided in the first place by talented consultants. Without a CSD, a hospital help desk can expect hundreds of calls per day after the go-live date- which can greatly hinder the ability for the hospital staff to adopt the new EHR, as well as diminish the efforts of the healthcare consultants during the go-live period.

With a CSD however, all of those calls would bypass the internal help desk. For the period the CSD is employed, the hospital can save on the need to increase help desk staff to support the post go-live influx of calls. And they can save revenue by reallocating resources to work on improving operational efficiencies or training.

Additionally, CSDs help drive two main benefits to every EHR implementation: 

660-Pop-Health-BLOG-NUMBERS-1.jpgSaving on Training

Training, resources and time are all valuable commodities during, and after, an EHR go-live.  Without a CSD, a hospital must allocate more resources and costs to training additional, temporary help desk staff- which are hard to find and retain in the first place. CSDs remove this burden along with the need to hire staff to “scale-up” the help desk for the post-go-live EHR launch. CSDs often embed training into their methodology- the internal help desk agents can listen in on calls and learn as the post-implementation progresses.

Finally, CSDs save hospitals from the worst-case scenario of needing to bring in new call center agents and spend time and money training those resources on the workflows and the EHR.  Most CSDs are staffed by previously-trained personnel and often employ trainers as call agents. This allows hospitals to benefit from reduced training costs since their clinicians and staff will be trained by CSD agents as they troubleshoot problems.

660-Pop-Health-BLOG-NUMBERS-2.jpgFree-up Valuable Staff

Level two (L2) consultants are the backbone of most implementations. These expensive, hard-to-recruit and elite few are often essential after a go-live in optimizing the EHR. Without a CSD, however, L2 consultants quickly become swamped by so many new tickets. At this point, they are also already stretched with the need to manage the EHR launch.680-Recruiting-2-Pronged-Approach-BLOG-1200px.png

CSDs drive fewer tickets to the L2 staff and Leidos estimates that a decrease of 50 to 60 percent is possible with this advanced work team. With a CSD the hospital now has the resource availability in the L2 department, which is made-up of the same people who did the implementation work in the first place, and who know the EHR system better than anyone else at the hospital.

Lastly, hospitals at this point often need to worry about bringing down and disposing their legacy system and its data. This task carries its own challenges and often involves handling sensitive data such as Accounts Receivable information for outstanding unpaid hospital stays. With a CSD, the L2 staff is now free to take on this effort.

EHR planning typically begins 18 to 24 months before the launch. And in the ensuing months, many things can change- hospitals might add an ambulatory clinic, shut down a wing, or sometimes even acquire a new organization. Therefore, partnering with an organization that can provide the best people and the best solutions is essential in driving a successful EHR implementation and ultimate adoption. Leidos Health offers a unique combination of knowledge, expertise and breadth of talent to help clients successfully implement their EHRs. We have a framework aimed at delivering our strategy, planning, implementation, training, go-live and project management expertise for any EHR engagement.


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Holly Fankhanel is the Leidos Health Director of Recruiting. She has been in the healthcare space for over 18 years and has been with Leidos Health in various roles since 2009.