Perfecting Electronic Health Record Implementation with Change Management

As one of the largest dialysis providers in the Pacific Northwest, it was essential for our client’s electronic health record system to work flawlessly – lives were a stake. Unfortunately, the organization’s earlier system had serious issues – it was unstable, went down often, and had accessibility problems.

They were desperate to upgrade their electronic health record system and do so under a tight, expedited schedule and a very constrained budget. Initially, they hired Brightwork Consulting to provide a “needs assessment” to develop an early plan for the implementation. Our team met with thousands of staff in numerous departments in all 18 facilities, developed 152 criteria, and led requirements gathering before presenting recommendations and a draft plan to the board.

Because everyone in the organization had a chance to provide input, leadership agreed to Brightwork’s plan, and hired the firm to lead the full implementation effort.

Utilizing proven project management methodologies, our team developed four pillars to complete the work: 1) applications; 2) technology; 3) project management; and 4) adoption. We helped the organization develop an RFP and select vendors while simultaneously crafting the structure of the project, meeting schedules, committees, and the overall plan. Our team documented the “current state” of every clinic and every facility, including people, environment, artifacts, and resources.

We then launched the “future state” program with a small, internal project team and the selected vendor. We determined how to improve efficiencies and roles, defined workflows, documented programs, and configured the data and system. Once we understood the goal, we led the build and configuration phase and then, the testing period.

Meanwhile, we were working with third parties to perform infrastructure assessments, data loads, validation, technical needs, and interfaces. We managed a validation process, performed soft ‘go-lives’ and guided a technical dress rehearsal – all so we were ready when it was time.

Our team developed and led a major engagement and training effort that involved writing and publishing curricula and learning materials, apps, help centers, and training guides for super users, end users, leadership, and IT staff. We employed change management methodologies, including a “six hats” event to foster engagement and adoption.

In just 12 months, we went from planning the EHR implementation to the ‘go-live’. The project was 20-percent under budget, on-time, and remarkably, after it was live, we were able to close the command center that dealt with problems early. The project was an unmitigated success.