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Tuesday December 7, 2021  |  Doug Allen, Senior Vice President, Implementations at MEDHOST

Five Steps to a Successful Clinical IT Implementation – Pt 1

Five Steps Successful Clinical Implementation Part 1 EHR

Healthcare IT vendors and their community hospital partners often focus on specific go-live events  to define project success, but that is just one step in the journey . The process—creating a sustainable, strategic, well-planned implementation—can contribute as much to improved patient care as the technology itself. 

Based on hundreds of successful implementations with community hospitals across the country, this series covers five essential best practices community hospitals can use to maximize clinical IT implementation effectiveness.  

The first strategies outlined occur well-before go-live. They involve the creation of a supportive framework and actionable goals that will help drive your implementation forward. 

Strategy 1 – Identify Champions 

Selecting champions for a clinical IT solution implementation is one of the most critical steps in the entire process. In all vital hospital areas, advocates from leadership play essential roles in adoption, but the nursing and physician champions are most pivotal to your success. 

The Nursing Champion 

A clinical informatics position will often represent the nursing champion as part of the hospital IT team. The nursing informatics role helps bridge  gaps between IT and clinical staff. Thus, the clinical staff has a seat at the table for all future clinical projects. 

The Physician Champion 

It is relatively common practice to assume that the physician champion should be primarily tech-savvy. Still, this element is only part of the skill set to look for in a physician champion. 

A physician who has earned the credibility of their peers and has a good grasp and knowledge of preferred physician workflows will have the most dramatic influence through the implementation and adoption process. The ideal physician champion speaks with a voice that carries considerable weight. When this individual has their stamp of approval on a new solution, it can make a big difference when encountering adoption opposition.   

These two champions co-star in your clinical readiness analysis, which should occur as implementation begins. When the right champions lead the team, executing the change management required of a clinical IT implementation becomes much easier. 

Strategy 2 – Define Success and How to Measure It 

Hospitals often have a hard time articulating a single shared vision around the expected outcome of a new clinical IT implementation. Different stakeholders in the hospital may state completely different reasons for the change, ranging from obtaining federal incentive dollars to transforming patient safety. 

While implementing MEDHOST solutions, we focus on facilitating conversations that help hospital partners define their visions and set specific milestones and measurements for success. By bringing all key stakeholders together—hospital administrators, nurses, physicians, IT, etc.—we create an alignment that will act as the foundation of the implementation. This alignment is essential to ensure readiness for a new clinical IT implementation. 

Defining an adoption plan and key success measurements for the rollout are crucial to ensuring clinicians and physicians know how to best use the new technology. Success criteria should be attainable, straightforward, and aligned with improving care, reducing errors, and streamlining and improving clinical content.  

Plan for a Successful Clinical IT Implementation 

Much like the go-live event is not a destination, but a milestone in the implementation journey, optimization of the solution should be ongoing and driven by continuous measurement. MEDHOST strives to make optimization a grassroots effort for our community hospital partners, so they can continuously transform the clinical care process for the better.   

Stay tuned for part two of 5 Steps to a Successful Clinical IT Implementation, where we will discuss clinician engagement, clinical governance, and rollout planning. 

If you are ready to speak now on how we can help with the implementation or optimization of your clinical IT systems, please reach out to us at inquiries@medhost.com or call 1.800.383.6278. 

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