Answers for a Healthier World

Few events can measure-up to the stress levels felt by most hospital staffs during a Go-Live event. Go-Live is a period defined as the point in which a hospital launches a new technology solution and prepares for issues, optimizes the system, brings the old system down and hopes that clinical staff adopts to the new technology.

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IT departments within hospitals are often stretched to their limits, especially when dealing with a new Electronic Health Records (EHR) implementation. The IT staff is focused on learning the EHR, implementing the new solution, and optimizing the solution after the launch in an attempt to perform improvements to the system. Additionally, by this point, most hospitals also require their IT staff to begin the onerous task of decommissioning existing legacy systems.

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Planning the perfect EHR launch is difficult, to say the least. There are several factors to consider like communications, access management and complex workflows. And that does not even consider the biggest one, the successful adoption to a new EHR, which is never a foregone conclusion. One key to a successful EHR Go-Live however, is accurate scheduling.

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EHRs have profoundly impacted the healthcare industry. The EHR was initially seen as a way to digitize the patient’s chart and record, but by doing so EHRs have impacted the healthcare industry through the exponential increase in the amount of data that is now available to clinicians. The healthcare community is at the early-stages of trying to figure out how to use this onslaught of data to change and improve patient care. Organizations are trying to leverage the EHR as a database, not only for quality improvement and safety, but also for general population health.

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Healthcare organizations often rush the implementation process associated with their transition from a legacy system to a new Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR). Looking for a vendor to provide legacy support while the existing hospital IT staff pivots to learn and implement the new EHR is one area where time is required in order to perform the proper due diligence.

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The expanded capabilities from modern Electronic Health Record solutions (EHRs) come with a cost increase in the implementation and adoption of the new system, as well as an increase in complexity for hospital staff. That often results in challenges for in-house hospital IT help desks after the launch of a new EHR system. By leveraging an EHR Clinical Service Desk (CSD), hospitals can better support clinicians while decreasing the complexity associated with new EHR implementations.

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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.

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The launch of a new project such as an Electronic Health Records (EHR) system implementation is a major milestone for a hospital, and represents the culmination of significant investments of time, effort, and money. The success of the EHR launch and subsequent adoption by clinical staff will either have a positive or negative resounding impact on employees, the patients and the finances of a hospital. The consequences of an unsuccessful Go-Live are considerable — to the point where the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources & Services Administration recommends planning, testing, training and piloting the system before rolling it out.

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Go-Live events are expensive. Many Go-Lives can be in the millions in total costs. This cost factor makes it important to set a budget for Go-Lives ahead of time, which requires planning early in the process. The total labor costs of the project are a combination of the number of “elbow support” used, how long the project is planned, the hours worked per week, and the rate from the external vendor. Travel expenses for the Go-Live project are mainly driven by the hotel costs since it’s a daily cost.

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When approaching a transition from a legacy system to a new Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution, hospital CIOs can find it a daunting process to know where to begin. It’s perfectly understandable. There is so much to consider, to plan for, and to budget, that finding the first step is often the most difficult part.

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