Answers for a Healthier World

Successful legacy system migrations start with people, and working with people requires outstanding communication and a close attention to transition. Even though most legacy systems have people who promote the system and those who are ready to move on, all users need to be engaged in order to embrace the new solution. That is the only way to drive the needed new sense of ownership.

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In part one, we discussed how a perfectly executed go-live event can signal the launch of a new system, commonly one for managing Electronic Health Records (EHR). We also discussed how this event signifies a major milestone in a hospital’s IT modernization program. In this blog, we want to discuss how, 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 require.

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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.

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Enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act aimed to "promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology" in clinical practice. Nearly a decade on, HITECH has succeeded in at least one respect: According to federal data, by 2015 some 84% of hospitals surveyed reported they had adopted at least a "basic" level electronic health records (EHR) system — more than an eightfold increase from the less than 10% level of EHR adoption reported in 2008, before HITECH became the law of the land.

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Across most industries, legacy systems have become a challenge. They lower efficiency and can at times create regulatory concerns. They also create security gaps and lower the quality of service that customers have come to expect within an “always-on,” mobile world.

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2017 was a year of many great accomplishments and several key insights. At Leidos, we would like to sum up the year recapping some of the major takeaways that may help your organization better prepare for the challenges and opportunities of 2018.

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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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