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When is the Best Time for an EHR Go-Live?
Posted by The HCI Group
on June 20, 2017 at 10:50 AM

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A client recently asked us: "When is the best time to do an EHR go-live?"

Let’s look at what some of our go-live experts had to say...

Thursday Morning at 4am

  • Most ambulatory clinics are closed
  • Less activity in acute areas 
  • Allows users and the project team to work through workflow issues and bug fixes before peak activity continues Monday morning

The only potential downside for a Thursday morning go-live is that EDs could be active – plan accordingly.

Friday Morning 12am-2am

  • One full business day with ambulatory to identify issues, followed by a full weekend with ambulatory (and potentially other ancillaries) closed
  • Fix bugs with maximum troubleshooting and minimal impact
  • Lessens the need for the IT team to work on the weekend

Friday Night/Saturday Morning

  • Lower volume/less users in the system – if there is an issue, it has less of immediate impact
  • Lower census on weekend – allows users to be slower in the new system under a slower population
  • Less of an impact on patients
  • Clinics that are open have little ambulatory impact
  • Issues in the system can be identified prior to Monday morning
  • Avoids a Monday morning shift 1 big wave

Things to Consider when Choosing Your Best Time

  • Your Patient Population – Analysis on your lowest census volume throughout the week (traditionally 12-2 AM on weekend)
  • Considering shift changes to ensure there isn’t a conflict or at least ½ shift duration after cutover before shift change
  • Not scheduling your go-live around month end to avoid added financial pressures

Practice 3 Times to Reduce Build Items

  1. The first practice should be with just technical staff running through the full plan and talking through handoffs
  2. The second practice should include the remaining build team analysts who are utilizing data courier express to move items
  3. The last practice should include the same group of remaining build team analysts

Additional items like content records can be pushed in following the upgrade, once caregivers have the system live again.

Additional Tips

  • Delay manual reporting runs: a best practice is to do this in the early morning hours so that everything is on the system when rounding activities resume the following morning.
  • Map out a go-live project plan: workflows, reporting triggers, etc., with clear-cut timelines and resource assignment
  • Production environment validation tests: validate that bill templates have been moved
  • Practice scenarios to one-off environments
  • Have a cut over plan: execute a few dry runs to see how long it takes to cut over and plan cutover downtime accordingly
  • Make sure have bandwidth post go-live with incoming volumes and communications

While there’s no silver bullet for the ideal go-live time, one thing is true: every organization must find their best time.

More EHR Go-Live Resources (follow these links):