When adopting a new EHR system, it’s important to create an EHR implementation team with a cross-section of skills and knowledge.
After companies have made the strategic decision to purchase an EHR system, they often believe that all the major work has been done by simply investing in technology.
But, creating a good team is an important job that still needs attention. Regardless of the size of the EHR implementation, it requires a careful consideration of the different EHR Implementation team roles.
This article will describe the slots that need to be filled to create a successful team. The article will cover:
- Attributes of a good team
- Project leadership team
- Analysis and Development – the team within a team
- Other key roles
Attributes of a Good Team
Like any successful unit, an EHR implementation team needs the right combination of leadership and operational skills.
When deciding who should be included, you should set goals for your team and forge a unified vision of EHR implementation.
This steering committee, as it is normally known, can make or break the implementation process.
Your leadership team needs the following attributes:
- Diverse range of backgrounds
- Clear experience in previous implementations
- The willingness to devote time to team catch ups
- A consistently positive attitude towards the process
- A clear team lead who can make final decisions
Project Leadership Team
Sometimes, a big project needs a Project Lead who oversees a Project Manager. But, when the budget is smaller, you can find a Project Manager who performs the lead role and the project management role together.
Here, we will discuss the Project Lead.
Ideally, this person should be technically minded and have previous experience in implementing EHR.
EHR Team Lead responsibilities include handling the project’s overall success, including hitting requirements and meeting deadlines for the roll out of the new EHR system.
The EHR Team Lead makes the final decisions regarding the implementation plan and is a key stakeholder in the overall process.
This person will oversee the entire process and will work closely with the Project Manager and other department heads.
The Project Manager is responsible for making sure the wheels keep turning. Their job is to monitor the deliverables and ensure that the project stays on schedule and within scope.
The strategy, design, development, implementation, and testing phases must all come together to be successful and it is the Project Manager’s job to facilitate these processes.
This could mean the Project Manager is responsible for scheduling implementation-related milestones, such as hardware installations and software go-live dates. They must be hands-on, yet at the same time good at delegating tasks when necessary.
Analysis and Development – the team within the team
The Analysis and Development team is truly a team within a team. They are highly technical, and they understand that their work is vital to the overall project.
Often, they will set internal technical deadlines that run parallel with team deadlines, but are not part of the visible project plan.
It is the Application Analyst’s job to align the ideas and concepts that the hospital wants with the Application Development team to see what is possible.
Only by collecting EHR requirements from different departments, team members, and end users, can the Application Analyst use these findings to convert them into a technical format for developers to use in the design stage.
It is preferred that the Application Analyst has some clinical experience, as this will be helpful for them to fully grasp the day-to-day needs of the hospital staff.
The Application Developer’s job is to design and implement applications for the clinical needs of the hospital, as described by the Application Analyst.
Some use cases for application development might involve the different needs of a casualty unit, operating theater, radiology, ICU, and many more.
It’s really about making sure the developer is in tune with the needs of each department so they can create more useful interfaces as laid out by the Application Analyst.
Other Key Roles
Quality Assurance Test Engineer
Testing is a key part of any EHR implementation. Once the Application Developer has kitted out the various departments with the EHR system interfaces they need, testing is the next stage.
Successful EHR implementations need a Quality Assurance Test Engineer who has been exposed to the requirements of a health deployment, so they can test the system from various viewpoints.
It would also be helpful if the QA Test Engineer has a clinical background. If they have been exposed to the workings of the clinical space, they are likely to understand the reality of daily hospital settings.
Information Technology Lead
It is the IT Lead’s job to ensure that matters related to the deployment of the software and hardware, including computers, printers, and scanners are taken care of.
The IT lead is the person that end users contact when they need a question answered regarding the implementation process, or how the software and hardware works.
Many IT leads find that during these implementations, they need to spend a lot of time on training and educating staff on how new systems work. They typically need to be very patient in their interactions with people, especially on new technology.
This person is typically an internal staff member. Super Users receive specialized training on how to use the EHR system before it is implemented.
The idea is to position them as someone who learns about the areas covered by the IT lead, such as hardware. They will also learn about the areas covered by the Analysis and Development team, such as the best way to use a new interface to improve old processes.
Depending on the size of the project, the Super User can sometimes be asked to help to recruit and train other Super Users.
Super Users are usually ambitious staff members who have their own jobs to do, but who want to take ownership of a project while upskilling themselves.
This is an important role which is often most visible in large EHR implementations. Highly skilled physicians can sometimes distance themselves from the rest of the workforce as they are more senior.
This is why it requires an individual who can concentrate on keeping specialist physicians in the loop about the progress of the project.
This way, the Physician Champion becomes someone who acts as a knowledge store of how the project is going, but also how the physicians would like things done.
Nurse Lead and MA Leads
Similarly, the nurses normally prefer their own liaison between the nursing staff and the implementation team. Ideally, this is a leader in the nursing unit who is held in high regard by other members.
The Nursing Lead must be able to inspire change. Nurses are some of the busiest people in a hospital. Getting them to adopt new systems can be a challenge.
When implementing a new EHR system, it’s vital to go through all the steps in the planning phase. This includes sticking closely to the implementation project plan and choosing the best team.
Finding the right attributes of the team is always key. Essential traits like positivity, an appetite for change, and existing experience is vitally important.