Monday, we had a meeting to kick off the second part of our major IT systems upgrade. This time, we are going to focus on the scheduling and billing systems.
There are a few very important differences between this project and the Electronic Medical Record upgrade:
- The product is mature. It was released 1 year ago. As a result, other early adopters have found the bugs and fixed them.
- The vendor has already gone through multiple upgrades and installations of this product. They know all of the pitfalls during installation and, during the kickoff meeting, were able to provide concrete advice for how to prepare our site.
- The product is legitimately more intuitive. Items seem to be located in the exact place they should be for the natural workflow of the day. You can also click on links that go exactly where you expect them to go. BIG improvement over our EMR.....
- The timeline is realistic. We will be live on the upgrade 90 days after the kickoff. The product will not force a complete change of workflow. The benchmarks are aggressive, yet achievable with a little bit of focus. Since this is a more mature product, we anticipate less trouble-shooting and problem reporting - more actual testing. That will be a FANTASTIC change of pace.
- The training challenge is less difficult. Since the interface is more intuitive, training will be less cumbersome and can be more focused on changes and improvements to their current workflows. We can also use the opportunity to reiterate some policies and practices that tend to be forgotten in the heat of the day. We also have far fewer people to train. Only front-desk staff, secretaries, and some clinical support staff - no docs, no residents, no med students. We will catch the other members of the clinical support staff who irregularly use the scheduling system once the mission critical folks are comfortable.
- The interface is less customizable. I find this to be a GREAT thing - less support problems, less decision-making on what stuff should look like. Also, it will make it much easier to develop later documentation, tutorials, and training that applies to the whole organization.
Maybe it's the meds that I'm on, but I'm feeling a lot less anxious about this upgrade than I did about the EMR upgrade.
Now if only we could resolve the ongoing problems with our EMR......