GLRA is an acronym recognized by anyone who has been through a large-scale system implementation. Spelled out, it is Go Live Readiness Assessment. It is typically done at the 90, 60, and 30-day mark before a go-live. At the University of Vermont Health Network (UVMHN), our 90-day GLRA for Epic Wave 1 was this week.
Dr. John Brumsted, UVMHN’s CEO, kicked the day off with a powerful message on how important the Epic project is to the network and our patients. He talked about why we are doing this for the region that includes six hospitals, a medical group, many ambulatory locations and home health and hospice in both Vermont and New York. He set realistic expectations, saying it wouldn’t be perfect and there would be issues. But he expressed confidence in the project, and in everyone involved in making it a success. His presence for a good portion of the morning spoke volumes about his support for this massive initiative and appreciation for all involved. The network CFO and the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) president, CNO, CMO and VP for Medical Group Operations were also there for a good portion of the morning.
Dr. Adam Buckley, UVMHN’s CIO, followed Dr. Brumsted by talking about how the journey to a common, fully integrated EHR began back in 2013. A journey that included a Certificate of Need (CON) review and approval by the Green Mountain Care Board. He too set realistic expectations about how many tickets we’ll have at go-live, just like every other major EHR implementation around the country, and thanked the interdisciplinary team involved.
Lori Boisjoli, UVMHN’s VP of Application Portfolio, then framed the day for everyone. The morning would be focused on the UVMMC with revenue cycle and the full suite of specialty modules going live. The afternoon would be focused on the three affiliate sites where ambulatory clinical and revenue cycle are going live. She highlighted that GLRA is the time to raise any significant issues and risks so project leadership can capture them for follow-up.
Next it was time to hear from the lead in each area. The GLRA goes into detail for each area of the project with a defined format that includes risks/outstanding items, mitigation strategies/next steps, target resolution date and key upcoming IT and/or operational activities. Any area that is considered yellow or red at this stage was reviewed. The questions and dialogue covered the interconnections between areas. As I listened to each report out, I noted potential touchpoints for the infrastructure teams that needed further review.
Why do we do GLRAs? I remember the “old days” in IT when project dates would slip because we weren’t ready for some reason, and a go-live would be pushed back a few weeks or months. As we said to each other back then, who is going to remember 6 months from now if we had to move a go-live out a few weeks?
That was before there was such a significant dependency on these systems. It is a very different time. With projects of this magnitude involving hundreds of people on the project team, a large number of outside consultants, and thousands of users to train, there is way too much complexity and scale to casually push a date. The purpose of the 90/60/30 day GLRA is to ensure all issues and risks are surfaced and addressed so that the go live happens with a high degree of confidence.
As I’ve said during previous EHR projects at other provider organizations, “it takes a village.” It’s a village of committed people working hard and getting increasingly more ready for the big event on November 1.