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It’s never easy to pick a vendor. No matter what type of industry you’re in, most companies rely on the expertise of a vendor, partner, consultant, or other kind of third party expert to design or deploy some new items into an existing workflow. In healthcare and Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) implementations, this task can be especially tricky. And its success or failure will directly impact the adoption of a new solution like an EHR.

With a Go-Live event, which is defined as the launch of the new EHR system in a hospital or clinic, you may have an idea of what service you need, but choosing from a multitude of vendors can be daunting. The biggest mistake hospitals or clinics make when searching for a Go-Live vendor is not verifying the vendor has the capacity, expertise, and experience while using the hourly rate or lowest overall cost as the determining factor.

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With so much on the line, it becomes crucial for hospitals to perform the proper planning and due diligence. Questions such as how much control they want to have over the Go-Live project and how much they want to give to outside consultants need to be answered. Part of the analysis needs to take into account:

  • Hospital leadership structure and culture
  • Determining how much time will be allotted to the Go-Live
  • Understanding how much money will be provided for the Go-Live
  • Mapping the department workflows the hospital manage internally, and want to handover to a Go-Live vendor
  • Understanding the issues around the most challenging clinical workflows

Additionally, hospitals need to understand the scope of the Go-Live effort. What efforts do they need and when do they need it? What do they want from a Go-Live team at the end of the process? All of these questions should be addressed and answered before the engagement. As mentioned before, it’s important to note that the lowest bill rate is rarely the best option. Low bill rates often mean that vendor cuts the pay of the resources they provide. Make sure you’re working with someone who understands how to get people into the project, and to keep them there so that capacity and turnover don’t become issues. Lastly, pick a partner sooner rather than later. This provides the best chance of success.


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By having these discussions upfront, hospitals that choose to use an outside Go-Live team can provide them with the most important item they need to be successful: the detailed information that allows the Go-Live vendor to start the onboarding and planning for the project.  It’s important to note that external Go-Live vendors can help provide the necessary figures and calculations figures free of charge that can be used for budgeting and planning.

Proper planning and a strong communication plan can help make an EHR Go-Live successful. The search for a vendor who understands the value of proper planning and who can communicate that value to the hospital is one the best indicators that you have found the right partner for this endeavor. Some main items to keep in mind to achieve a successful Go-Live are proper resource allocation and scheduling, and plenty of pre-Go-Live activities to anticipate challenges. Lastly, by communicating the budget ahead of time to the external Go-Live team, hospitals can benefit from a resource analysis to help provide the best service for the lowest cost.

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.