Implementing a software solution of any kind can be a daunting and overwhelming project. Though health systems and practices continue to adopt health IT solutions and the number of electronic health records continues to increase, for example, some organizations remain hesitant to implement appropriate solutions.
Selecting a solution is important for achieving organizational goals, but not all implementations go as planned; in fact some implementations stall and never are completed. The reality is that many implementations fail because of several common mistakes, outlined here:
No Scope of Work
One of the main causes of failure of system implementation is that even with the overwhelming amount of work required of health system leaders often they do not have a plan or a detailed scope of work for the project prior to starting it. Without such a roadmap, there is simply no way to ensure the direction of a project and exactly what needs to be done to constitute success.
Those embarking on such a complicated project without a plan will likely soon find that it simply takes on a life of its own and will likely sputter, become overbearing and will carry on with no end in sight. Perhaps it’s common sense at this point to know of the requirements and understand the need for such a plan, yet in many cases it can still be quite common for organizations to forgo the blueprint phase and move directly to the install phase without truly understanding what is required of them or assessing some of the important first steps, such as how a new system – of any kind – will impact workflows and administrative operations.
One of the most important steps of creating an implementation plan include performing an assessment of its current situation, which parties within the organization will be affected by the process, and analyzing business priorities, controls, business processes and execution environment.
Bringing All Systems Online at the Same Time
Complicating the implementation process, many organizations simply attempt to bring all of their systems together and bring them live at the same time. Clearly, this complicates the entire process and creates unneeded complexity for the health system.
For obvious reasons, this creates and incredibly complex implementation, not to mention makes it extremely difficult to manage and the process can easily spin it out of control. As with any well-planned, professionally prepared undertaking the size of an implementation, it needs to be parsed into phases with clear guidelines and sections for the implementation. Organization and section leaders should address the most critical parts of the plan and work toward helping the organization receive the quickest return on investment. Also, be sure to start with a small sample or section and test the solution with a select group of users first to ensure that it is functioning properly and as planned. From there, continue building by adding additional benefits and features.
Selecting the Incorrect Vendor
Price is often the one and only deciding factor of system selection. Other than that, some vendors do not always have the same goals and vision as those leading the healthcare organization. Another important factor to consider is that a vendor may not have the knowledge or expertise about the technology or infrastructure that the organization uses to properly service the organization. This can force them to custom build or figure out how to build the solution for the organization; since every organization has different infrastructure in place and varying needs, this can be devastating to the process.
Do you research, and look further than the price. If you need help, hire a professional consultant to help with the process from start to finish.
No Buy in From the Top
Another major hurdle of a successful implementation is lack of support from organizational top management. If the project is not a priority of management, it will likely not be a priority for the organization. Even if the project is green lighted, it’s not likely to get much ongoing support or long-term attention. Organizational management is needed to ensure that the correct people and teams are working together to ensure that the project gets completed on time and within budget.