Going remote: Creative solutions to keep projects moving

Andrea-Schmeichel-2With the entire industry making quick adjustments to entirely remote work, you may be concerned about successfully managing projects you already have in flight and beginning new initiatives on your strategic plan. Many organizations have begun a gradual move to exploring more remote options over the years, both for employee satisfaction and reduced cost, however recent events have accelerated the need for creative solutions. What can you do to keep the work moving, knowing that your team can’t be together or onsite with clinicians and staff?

Provide high-touch service without physical presence

Now is the time to use videoconferencing as much as possible. It is not a perfect technology but does provide a level of personalization that phone communication can’t match. Building and maintaining relationships with your clinicians and staff is key to sharing information, working through issues, and making decisions. When face-to-face meetings aren’t possible, simply seeing the other person can go a long way to humanizing the efforts on both sides and working through the joys and challenges of an implementation together.

Provide videoconferencing for your application teams, too, so they can see each other during team meetings and maintain a sense of unity and collaboration as they work together.

See if you can use the screen-sharing tool your help desk uses to remotely assist users who need someone to look at their screen and step them through a workflow. Being able to see a user’s screen in real-time, view their workflow, and show them how to perform the right functions is a key component of high-touch service.

Reduce decision-making

Getting the EHR live can provide much-needed support to your partners as they care for patients. Work to provide a strong, prescribed scope and ask for decisions only when necessary. Understand what already works for your organization and extend those workflows. Keep a list of other requests that can be put into an optimization plan for a few months down the road. Guide your partners to what you know works, and batch your questions and decisions for a short time period each week.

Include remote patient care in your project scope

With the goal of reducing in-person patient visits, ensure your regular build plan includes the build and testing for video visits, billable telephone encounters, and e-visits. Your team can include these as scenarios in training and clinical dress rehearsal to assist the users with these new workflows.

Get creative with specific events

Necessity is the mother of invention, and the coming weeks will require some out-of-the-box thinking to move forward implementation events and maintain social distancing. Build and testing are great remote activities and can be effectively done with strong project management and team structure to organize a team working in many locations. Other parts of implementations are typically done in person, and your mindset will need to shift to accomplish these differently:

1. Site visits

Pair up with a staff person at the site, videoconference in, and have them walk you around to various departments to view the site and ask questions about workflows. Review your discovery questionnaires and pare them down to the must-have information. Schedule a phone call to walk through this with your site leader and fill it out together.

2. Technical assessment, installation, and dress rehearsal

Make sure your hardware assessments and installation take place after hours and limit the staff in the practice. For smaller practices, send one person after hours to do technical dress rehearsal (TDR) with others on the phone as needed. Some organizations have had the practice manager physically on site and the project team on the phone, walking her through TDR scripts and working issues.

3. Appointment conversion

Template build training can be provided virtually and appointment conversion support can be remotely provided with screen-sharing tools. Schedule regular calls twice a day for questions and have specific analysts available during those “office hours.”

4. Clinical dress rehearsal

Have several shorter clinical dress rehearsals (CDRs) with fewer attendees and have your team remote into screens to follow along with the site as they step through the workflows and offer real-time help and support. We’ve seen organizations move to completely remote CDRs by having physicians and staff call in, one at a time, and work with an analyst to step through a clinical scenario together, using screen-sharing tools. Send them the script in advance or give them a verbal scenario. Consider an open bridge line for certain hours, or 30-minute, scheduled time slots.

5. Training

See Nordic’s blog post on making a rapid shift to online training for some great advice.

6. Go-live

This is the most challenging area to handle remotely. You may consider postponing the go-live event until your organization determines it is safe to have limited onsite support. If you choose to go live, consider open phone lines to the site in various rooms for quick questions and issue resolution, screen-sharing, and a phone directly to trainers who are standing by to immediately walk a user through a workflow.

Summary

We are all doing what we can to keep life and business moving forward. Projects are already budgeted for and planned, and you want to provide your clinicians and staff the tools they need to care for patients. Nordic consultants are seasoned remote workers, and we have a wealth of knowledge to share as we work together to navigate the current environment. We are here to assist you.

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Topics: Implementation, EHR project management, COVID-19

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