As part of any significant project, one has to dedicate some time for self-care. I discovered hiking a few years ago. Although I have never enjoyed running, I used to push myself to run — well, jog (okay, power walk) for miles and feel a tad bit guilty if I did not make a specific time. Hiking provides the freedom to walk or jog and take time to stop and smell the roses and take self-indulgent selfies (how else do you use vendor swag). National and state parks are amazing, and I am finding incredible trails in the middle of cities. I like the app All Trails to find new spots. This is Ice Cream Hill at the Hill Country State Natural Area. It was steep and rocky, and the worse part? I never found any ice cream.
T-113: In-person super-user training started recently. Each EHR vendor and healthcare organization decides its training program. For us, it comprises computer-based training, instructor-led training, and then a small competency exam. We have super-user training, champion engagement, and other training activities. It should be easy, right?
We have over 8,000 clinicians at our hospital who need training, so finding classroom space caused a significant emotional event. We had to fight, beg, cry and finally compromise conference rooms and classrooms space. If you are in healthcare, you understand that space and conference rooms are a touchy subject. Even in places that centralize scheduling for conferences rooms, possession is nine-tenths of the law. We published the commandeered spaces, but the week of classroom setup was a complete street brawl.
A new EHR deployment has a lot of moving pieces: training, hardware deployment, patient care locations, solution calls, ancillary validations, etc. It is imperative to have a specific communication plan that details the major stakeholders and who should inform them. It may be helpful to conduct a stakeholder analysis. You can email every hour, upload to SharePoint, present in team calls, place posters, and still, half your population will say they were never informed.
If you are fortunate enough to have a knowledge manager on staff, this is where they can shine. Unfortunately, we did not, but we created a spot on our internal SharePoint to post the EHR plan. My SharePoint guru placed this countdown clock on the home page to remind users of the Go Live date. Visuals like this are a part of our engagement plan. However, we are still looking at opportunities to make the site more user-friendly and accessible.
Anyone shocked to know there are still other IT projects happening during your go-live prep? I was not either, but it did seem to be a shock to our users. Most mature organizations have a robust project management office. However, I cannot emphasize having all your resources assigned to each project and showcase their availability. This will be a useful tool and is crucial for scope creep and any new project requests. I have several hundred people in my division, but we had to painstakingly account for each person so I could show a visual chart of our staff bandwidth. I feel it is my job to safeguard my employees, watch for burnout, and support them with realistic workloads. Plus, I don’t want anyone to let the air out of tires again (just kidding, it was a coincidence, hopefully).
The Real Deal
A lot of lessons learned so far, but we are doing quite well compared to a few months ago. The key is to stay positive, and recognize some days are more challenging than others, but you will get through it. Additionally, I cannot emphasize the need for clinical engagement. We sent champions to other sites to understand “the real deal” of the EHR, plus assist with garnering support in clinical areas. We also revised our informatics steering committee to have more clinical involvement with large departments reporting out instead of the engineers reporting. This method is much more collaborative and shares the implementation responsibility between the clinical staff and the IT department.
Chani Cordero, CIO at Brooke Army Medical Center, has chosen to document the organization’s EHR journey on LinkedIn so that others can learn from their experience — also, “because it’s free therapy.” To view the original post, click here.