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Tuesday December 14, 2021  |  Doug Allen, Senior Vice President, Implementations

Five Steps to a Successful Clinical IT Implementation – Pt 2

Five Steps Successful Clinical Implementation Part 1 EHR

In part one of this series, we covered two ways to set a strong foundation for a successful clinical IT implementation – identifying champions and creating metrics that will define success. 

With much of the groundwork laid, the final three strategies require more action from the hospital and play critical roles closer to going live. They include driving clinical engagement, establishing clinical governance, and creating a rollout timeline. 

Through strict adherence to these guidelines in collaboration with a reliable healthcare IT vendor, your hospital can better promote the adoption, usage, and optimal performance of new clinical IT solutions. 

Strategy 3 – Engage Clinicians Early and Often 

One of the biggest challenges hospitals have when implementing a new clinical IT solution is underestimating resistance to adoption. Resistance can occur up through and after go-live. Implementing new clinical tools will often be one of a hospital's most complex challenges. Preparing clinical staff for these changes is a strategic initiative that can challenge hospital leaders more than configuring features and training users. 

Often, we have seen community hospitals successfully engage clinicians by providing them with unrestricted access to workstations, guides, and manuals in general staff areas like a staff lounge. Here physicians and nurses can get hands-on experience with the new solution at their own pace or schedule. This approach should remain intact well-after go-live as an educational device for new clinical staff or a demo station when updates and upgrades are applied.  

Regularly communicating positive changes, implementation updates, and training events early will often help get clinicians motivated and excited about the change. 

Strategy 4 – Establish Effective Clinical Governance    

While the IT Team plays a critical role in implementing and managing a solution, a committee of hands-on clinical users can support further adoption and optimization.  

Almost immediately after go-live, requests for tweaks and changes to content or additional reporting and access rights will flood the implementation team. Your clinical governance committee ensures the evaluation of each submission as part of your overall vision. Creating and following documentation and role standards will ensure appropriate clinical content following specified guidelines. 

A new clinical IT solution will offer plenty of opportunities to capture and measure meaningful data. The clinical governance committee should lead the evaluation of this data to ensure its use will improve clinical usage and outcomes. 

Strategy 5 – Create a Realistic, Multi-Phase Timeline and Content Plan  

A phased approach to clinical adoption dramatically reduces resistance and the risks associated with accelerated implementations. By layering certain rollout phases, you can create a solid foundation for success that gives clinical staff time to become acquainted with the new solution.  

For example, hospitals can offer staff direct access to demo the new system through super-user and end-user training times. Overlapping training for different user types heightens the opportunity for early adopters to influence and encourage others.  

Successful hospitals also pursue a realistic approach for setting up clinical content in advance of the go-live event.  

Pave the Way to Clinical IT Optimal Usage 

Implementing a new clinical IT solution is an exercise that involves learning new software tools and technologies. More importantly, it is also an exercise in learning how to incorporate those innovative technologies to strengthen the relationship between clinical teams, physicians, and patients. 

The five strategies covered in parts one and two of this clinical IT implementation series require a blend of: 

  • Advocacy 
  • Communication 
  • Engagement   
  • Measurement 
  • Consensus 
  • Ongoing planning 

To find out how MEDHOST can help your team put all these characteristics into action and guide a successful implementation that results in quantifiable improvements to patient care, reach out to us at inquiries@medhost.com or call 1.800.383.6278. 

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