The impact of a large scale electronic health record (EHR) implementation, whether
Epic, Cerner or another system, on a health system’s culture can be very subtle.  Whether health systems realize it or not, implementing such a system transforms the healthcare entity, creating norms and standard practices, and impacts the culture.  New tools and processes alter and enhance the delivery of care and revenue cycle management; staff have new workflows; doctors have new methods; and patient care is enhanced.

Healthcare IT Go-live ConsultantsThe effects upon the IT, finance and other departments are much more profound.  Those deploying the EHR are embracing a common project process develop standard tools and methods, even at very different healthcare entities with diverse cultures.   The needs of the EHR system, drives the implementers to develop similar behaviors, tools, challenges and problems.  Sharing those common experiences and tools are a helpful supplement to both consultants and health system staff, who support these complex systems.


Over the next several months we will publish a series of articles covering the major logistical and planning aspects of implementing a large scale EHR, into a complex health system.  The series will cover the nuts and bolts of an EHR deployment and provide best practices for successful go-lives.  It will include sample tools and statistics, including:

  1. Planning for it, Plans and Planning   An overview of the typical go-live components, like discovery, build, testing, cutover, and command center, and how they tie together.
  2. What does it Cost, Budgeting for Activation How to create assumptions and a budget, with sensitivity analysis and how to use sensitivity analysis throughout go-live and after?  What do you need to budget and how do your forecast those needs?
  3. Who is doing it, Staffing the ActivationOnce you have governance, management, IT staff and a signed contract, who else is needed to run the activation and deployment? Have you considered project team organization, duties and go-live staffing needs?
  4. Cutover, Turning on the System What are the best practices of large successful cutovers?
  5. Go-Live Command and Control, Order Out of Chaos How is the go-live managed once underway?  Have you considered structure, centralized and decentralized models, conversions of case, appointments and soft go-live?
  6. Metrics and Statistics, How are we doing How do you measure a go-live? Are you setup to detect major themes and looming crises.
  7. Post Go-live Communications, The Meeting Cycle How do we communicate the story of the go-live to the whole health system?  How do they let us know the challenges they are facing?  How do we avoid being cutoff in the command center?


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Doug Blair, MBA, FACMPE
Senior Consultant for Intellect Resources



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