Achieving a high-level of care through an affiliate model is not easy. Despite the best intentions at improving the quality of care within the healthcare industry, hospital systems can often fall short from a lack of preparedness. Often the goal becomes muted from the start, particularly if the number of siloed or proprietary technology systems that clinicians and patients have are not addressed.
Other common challenges are organizational alignment issues, whether from the hospital hosting an Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) or from the hospital looking to affiliate with a host. These organizational alignment challenges stem from the need for the hospital to understand their internal structure and define the end-state or purpose for seeking an affiliation.
These issues are usually reflections of the lack of clear goals and guiding principles mixed with a need to better align and communicate to stakeholders. Exacerbating these challenges is also a need for the affiliation to build business cases, determine and outline the future state of the affiliation, and do both of those activities with an emphasis on well-thought-out and defined success metrics.
Overcoming these challenges requires a commitment and a focus on preparation to produce the benefits of a shared EHR system. Overcoming these challenges also requires understanding where to begin. The best place to start and address these challenges is by doing the legwork around the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when, “and “how” with regard to the affiliation. It’s important to note that the “how” is the final step and focuses on the main elements to reach and execute a successful affiliation.
Program and project management includes a number of sub-steps and workstreams that range from financials to milestone tracking, reporting and success metrics development. Three key areas of program management that we’d like to highlight due to importance are: Technical Development, Design and Build, and Training.
If Program and project management is about organizing, starting and moving along the affiliation, change management is about making sure all program management efforts succeed. More than simply communicating, change management is about driving the level of engagement necessary to achieve user adoption and subsequent success metrics, as well as the desired financial outcomes. Too often, this step is marginalized and planned at the end of the process. To successfully execute impactful and engaging change management principles, however, this step should be planned during the program management stage and treated as its own workstream. It’s too much work and too important to not have a dedicated change manager leading it.
All previous activities are geared towards ultimately delivering a successful go-live event where the planning manifests itself as adoption of a new EHR by the clinicians and ultimately by the patients within the affiliate hospital. In this phase numerous items are important. Communication and training needs to be reinforced and documentation often plays a big role. Finally, partnering with an organization like Leidos for the affiliation and ultimate go-live can drive the consistency, problem solving and experience needed to successfully accomplish the goals of both the host and affiliate.
Achieving a high-level of care through an affiliate model is difficult. But knowing where to start, performing the prior planning and partnering with a company like Leidos can help drive engagement and ultimate affiliate adoption of a new EHR.