To successfully bring new tech to scale, it needs to be an organizational project – not an IT project.
This was the overwhelming advice of the presenters at The 2019 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute during the session, “Moving Technology From Pilot To Scale: Strategies For A Successful Transition To Organization-Wide Implementations.” Scott Bell, EHR Administrator/Compliance Manager of LifeSkills, and Betsy Lynam, Chief Program Officer and Edie Didomenico-Weber, Director, Clinical & Program Informatics of AHRC NYC described the challenges to moving new technology from a ‘project’ to an organizational platform and shared some advice in making that transition.
To illustrate the process for organization-wide technology implementation, the presenters used the roll-out of their EHRs as an example. Their examples shared four key elements – clear strategies and goals, engage staff in the process, prepare carefully, and properly resource the project.
Clear Strategies & Goals Are The Base For Organization-Wide Adoption
When bringing new technology to scale, the organization should have a clear strategies and goals. AHRC NYC operated multiple software programs across different program areas creating silos within the organization. The management team’s decision to implement a new EHR was driven by state policy changes pushing provider organizations to managed care and value-based reimbursement. To maintain competitive advantage, AHRC NYC needed “a single source of truth to pull data.” Similarly, LifeSkills implemented a new EHR after completing the strategic planning process and assessing their IT needs. They also knew that their legacy EHR platform was going to be discontinued.
Engage Staff In The Process
While both LifeSkills and AHRC NYC made the decision as an executive team to implement a new EHR, staff were engaged in the process of choosing and implementing the EHR. Ms. Didomenico-Weber explained that she went on roadshows to each of AHRC NYC’s locations to explain the why of the change and solicit feedback. AHRC NYC also decided to take a cross-functional approach to the implementation and engaged staff from different departments to participate in the implementation process. Mr. Bell explained that during the EHR demos, clinical professional staff sat in the room and evaluated the EHRs from their perspective. The team took their evaluations into account when making the final decision.
Preparing for technology implementation takes more than the IT team. At LifeSkills while the IT staff provided the training for the new EMR, the vice president of behavioral health attended most of the trainings. She helped answer questions about why processes were changing and understand how the EHR implementation effected staff. Having a member of the senior leadership attend the trainings helped convey the importance of the shift and emphasis that it was an organizational change. Early on in the process, AHRC NYC decided that collaboration and standardization were essential to the success of their implementation. The organization brought together workgroups from different departments, locations, and service lines to make standardized and streamlined design decisions. When different groups requested changes to the design during the implementation process, AHRC NYC stood firm on denying most changes to avoid recreating silos.
In order for the project to be successful it must be resourced properly. Proper resources go beyond money and include staff and time. Lifeskills chose a rolling implementation because they have a small IT staff. Rolling out the implementation allowed for two staff members to conduct trainings at each location and remain on-location during the go-live period. Throughout the process, AHRC NYC was very clear with staff about the level of effort implementing the new EHR would take. Due to several failed EHR and technology implementations, leadership specifically requested that new individuals participate in the process. Both Lifeskills and AHRC NYC noted that implementation responsibilities should not be added on top of current staff responsibilities. If EHR implementation is expected to take up 20% of their time, then someone needs to replace their other responsibilities.
For more on best practice technology implementation, see:
- How To Implement New Technology Effectively: Best Practice Technology Implementation For Maximum Return
- Improving Access To Care: The Benefits, Best Practices & Lessons Learned Implementing Telehealth Services
- Finding An Electronic Health Record System For Your Future: The OPEN MINDS Seminar On Best Practices In EHR Selection, Contracting & Optimization
- Making ‘Virtual’ Work – Two Case Studies
- How To Avoid Digital Culture Shock
- Consumer Engagement Tech—No Reward Without Risk
- An Executive Guide To Strategic Partnerships That Last: How To Leverage Technology Investments For The Long-Term
- 4 Keys To Make New Tech Work
- Making The Right Tech Investments For Your Organization: An OPEN MINDS Executive Seminar On Technology Budgeting & Planning
- Digital Transformations Demand Digital Dexterity
To learn more, join Credible and OPEN MINDS on January 28, 2020 at 12pm for the web briefing, “Beyond The Core 4: What You Need To Survive A Value-Based World – Results Of The 2019 National Behavioral Health Electronic Health Record Survey” featuring Joseph P. Naughton-Travers, Ed.M., Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS and Matthew M. Dorman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Credible Behavioral Health Software. For a look at the results from last year’s survey, check out: Investing In Your EHR Technology For Future Success: Results Of The 2018 Behavioral Health EHR Survey.