EHR Implementation Part Six of Six: Going Live!

November 17, 2016
by Ivy Raff, Implementation Consultant, Foothold Technology

Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

“Thank you to our Foothold Implementation Consultant for getting us up and running. And running we are. Her help has been invaluable. She has been a great resource for us. Having been through many implementations of this kind, this was one of the smoothest.”
– Cathy L. Thurston, Family Counseling Services of the Finger Lakes

The big moment has arrived! Over the last few months, your implementation team has worked to configure your new EHR, and has learned to use and manage it. You’ve seeded the database with the census and service plan data you need to get started. This post, the final in our series on EHR implementation, is dedicated to that final piece of your implementation puzzle: go live time!

The day your agency goes live, all service documentation – as well as electronic lab orders and/or prescriptions – will be done in the EHR. A smooth go live day helps to maintain high staff morale during the entire transition process for your agency. In the next few paragraphs, we share some tips to help make your go live day a success.

In the month leading up to go live, we recommend agencies ensure hardware is well-tested and well-placed. If you’ve purchased new hardware for your EHR implementation such as tablets, signature pads, or touch-screen laptops, test the devices at the location where they’ll be in use. Your implementation team should also perform a final walk-through of a complete chart workflow using your new hardware on a test client. This walk-through will allow you to be sure hardware is installed and working properly at all the workstations that will rely on it.

While your IT or operations staff is busy installing and testing hardware in preparation for the big day, your system administrators should double check that user login credentials and permissions settings are in place. The quickest way to demotivate a new EHR user is to create a frustrating experience caused by a failed login. When working with new customers, we ask agencies to spend the week before go live, confirming all users have successfully logged into the database at least once, answered security questions so they can reset their own passwords, and still remember their login credentials. We believe system administrators should also clear some time the week before go live to test permissions settings for all user groups. Each group should be able to access the parts of the database they will need, and be restricted from viewing the parts they should not view.

Even the most prepared agencies may run into a few unanticipated snags on day one. We’ve found that it’s wise to expect a bit of the unexpected and we caution agencies to clear the implementation team’s calendars on go live day as much as possible. Having your implementation team accessible to quickly resolve any users’ questions will help keep the momentum of learning new software going strong.

Launching your new EHR is a big shift that can bring on the jitters! But preparing in these three ways – testing hardware, checking user login credentials and permissions settings, and clearing the implementation team’s calendars on go live day – can make day one seamless, and position you to build on the positive experience of using an EHR for years to come.

We hope this blog series has provided you with some helpful hints on how to prepare for and successfully implement your EHR. If your agency has been using AWARDS for several years and this series has spurred new ideas, we encourage you to reach out to your Senior Project Manager. If you aren’t partnered with a vendor like Foothold Technology who is supportive of your EHR implementation needs, or your implementation is leading you down a road to nowhere, we want to hear from you too! You can comment below, share your thoughts on social media or simply email us and we’ll give you a call.