Preparing for an IT implementation of any kind is a significant undertaking for a hospital or health system, especially when it includes an enterprise electronic health record (EHR) like MEDITECH Expanse. The decisions you make upfront can impact overall project success — whether or not the implementation is completed on-time and on-budget and supports your IT and business goals.
That’s why it is critical to create a project plan to guide your organization from kickoff to go-live. This comprehensive plan needs to cover a number of people, processes, and technical requirements, which can make plan development an entire project in itself. We want help give you a head start.
Here are the top three considerations to keep in mind as you begin planning for your MEDITECH implementation.
A recent Chartis Group report found that in the five years since reaching Stage 4 on the HIMSS EMR Adoption Model scale, most hospitals have not realized the clinical and financial benefits they expected.
Many factors have contributed to this slow progress, but one is a lack of understanding around the enterprise-wide cultural shift and process changes that clinicians and other staff must incorporate under a new technology framework. Your EHR implementation does not only affect those who directly interface with the system; it affects your entire organization.
The MEDITECH Expanse platform touches almost every area of your hospital, including revenue cycle, finance, nursing, ancillary (laboratory, pharmacy, and radiology), and all providers who use computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and physician documentation. You can’t limit your focus to just one or two departments. Instead, approach your project planning from a bird’s-eye view, outlining the required preparation steps for each involved party. Additionally, you’ll want to create and disseminate organization-wide communication around the clinical, financial, and operational benefits of the EHR implementation project.
Your MEDITECH implementation plan depends on your hospital’s implementation goals. What do you hope to achieve from adopting an enterprise EHR? Increased reimbursement? Improved patient outcomes? More efficient workflows?
Each of your project goals should translate to a measurable key performance indicator (KPI), so you can accurately track and measure the success of the project. In the Chartis Group report, the health systems with the most successful implementations “bought their EHRs with an eye toward using them for specific strategic outcomes.” With clearly defined KPIs, you can quantifiably determine if you achieve the benefits you desire across departments.
As part of our MEDITECH consulting services, the Santa Rosa team works with clients to define intended results and value from the new system along with corresponding criteria. These criteria cover the full scope of the implementation project. Some examples include:
- Adherence to scope, budget, and resource allocation
- Communication plan for stakeholders and constituents
- Physician engagement and adoption
- Comprehensive testing strategy with test automation
When it comes to an EHR implementation, project management is everything. You’ve got to have the right people and processes in place to make the entire transition possible. At Santa Rosa, we recommend taking a structured project management approach that ties back to your broader goals and incorporates best practices and standard content.
Effective project management requires a qualified project manager to lead your efforts. This person must have a deep understanding of your project charter and goals and be able to navigate people and politics. Ultimately, it will fall on the project manager’s shoulders to make sure you meet all implementation milestones, so you’ll want to employ someone who can hold your entire team accountable to the project plan.
Part of project management in an EHR implementation is encouraging change where necessary. This means assessing workflow efficiency and updating your process to close gaps and ensure long-term project success.
There’s too much riding on a MEDITECH implementation project to take it on by yourself. The Santa Rosa team has decades of hands-on health IT implementation experience, and we’re the recognized leader in MEDITECH implementations.
We know all the ins and outs of MEDITECH technology and can provide third-party guidance to set you up for project success. And, we make sure this success is measurable. Download our white paper “MEDITECH Expanse: How Do You Measure True Success” to learn more.