Transition and Communication: The Dynamic Duo of Legacy Support

May 23, 2018 Harvey Pearce

Successful legacy system migrations start with people, and working with people requires outstanding communication and a close attention to transition. Even though most legacy systems have people who promote the system and those who are ready to move on, all users need to be engaged in order to embrace the new solution. That is the only way to drive the needed new sense of ownership.

Legacy support engagements are a unique process during an Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) implementation. This critical step in the long road towards an EHR implementation often lacks proper communication and transition, yet by focusing on these two important steps, organizations can take huge strides in transferring support for their legacy systems to a new team. Doing this correctly will free up your valuable IT staff so that they can dedicate themselves to the implementation of the new EHR.

Step One: Transition

The transition phase is often associated with access management and preplanned documentation to help the incoming legacy teams get started working on day one of the scheduled engagement. However, in a larger sense, the entire effort requires careful attention to five key areas:

  1. Time: Provide time to let the legacy support team perform the appropriate knowledge exchange.
  1. Focus: Let your resources prioritize their time with the legacy support team so that they can focus on the new implementation.
  1. Documentation: Capture all the workflow and design documents.
  1. Preparation: Provide all documents to the legacy support teams.
  1. Process: Provide all the access requirements and logistical work required to accommodate the legacy support staff once on site.

By remembering these five tips, hospital IT teams can move off the legacy systems faster and focus more on learning the new EHR and its subsequent application to the respective hospital.

Step Two: Communication

Proper communication seems like common sense at this phase of a transition. But with so much to plan and consider, communication planning is often an easily-overlooked asset that begins way too late in the process. Without planned communication, an EHR deployment can face an unnecessary uphill struggle.

Communication with employees should begin before the project kick-off meeting. Frontline managers should be informed of the legacy support engagement so that they can minimize disruptions, avoid scheduling conflicts and facilitate communication between legacy support analysts and hospital staff.

The organization should also conduct a stakeholder analysis and mapping that includes the people, roles and applications that the legacy support analysts will be working with. This analysis should include holiday, vacation and training scheduling. When dealing with multiple locations, geographic separation should also be considered so that travel schedules can be aligned.

Finally, communication needs to be understood as both a separate work stream with regards to planning, execution and reporting, as well as an attribute that should be embedded in all other work streams. A proper transition, for example, should have a communication component that includes everything from the sharing of documented information to the access management materials that legacy support teams will need. And all of that should be provided before the engagement begins.

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