I have always been curious when visiting healthcare organisations either in a professional, patient or carer capacity, what software are they using, do their people enjoy the experience and what struggles they may be having? To be honest, I probably have asked far too many questions. I have seen the same software used in multiple different organisations, in some it adds significant value to the users and vastly improves their day-to-day work lives; in others it can make the workflow disjointed or adds an additional burden to the staff. It is the same software and it has the same features so what is the difference? You can probably guess the answer from the title of this blog, in my opinion it is the implementation that makes all the difference.
At Alcidion we have a very strong product suite however we are fortunate when compared with a lot of software providers as we also have a very strong implementation and services arm of the company. The team do not just implement our software; they also help all manner of healthcare organisations with implementing other systems, assigning experts to fill positions for their projects, providing advice and recommendation for complex issues where assistance is needed and many other services. Collectively, we have used the experiences we have gained to build an implementation approach that ensures our customers are getting the most out of our software. I want to share with you four of the aspects of our implementation approach that contribute to our success in implementing software solutions: Partnering, Collective User Knowledge, Integration and Data Access.
Partnering with the Customer
Alcidion takes a partnering approach with our implementations; we really want to work with customers to achieve the best outcomes for them. The mindset from the start of the project is fostered to be one of a single team working together rather than the customer team and the vendor team. Collectively we work stronger together and issues are resolved faster, removing the back and forth or stalling of tasks. Partnering is more than a mind set or culture. With our strong service team we can also provide practical help. If the organisation does not have the skills in an area it is likely we do and we can leverage that to make sure the customer gets the outcome they need for the implementation to be a success.
Collective User Knowledge
Information technology is our life blood. For our customers it is caring for their patients, a task which most would agree is far more complex. During an implementation, our customer’s primary focus is making sure the software aligns with the workflow of their staff. This is where the collective user knowledge is truly beneficial. Our sites can draw on the experiences of other customers using our software, from how they mount devices (attached to the dinamap or with magnets to the wall) to what forms they are using to monitor fluids. Alcidion supports the sharing of this valuable information by having an active user group for each of our products where customers come together regularly to discuss topics of interest. In between catch ups, they are also given access to a forum where they can post questions or share ideas. No customer is alone on their journey.
Integration and interoperability
Integration with existing systems is vitally important to simplify the user’s workflows, reduce data replication and errors, and to have staff take to the system positively and quickly. We think this is such an important aspect of software in a health environment that it is a fundamental base of our products and implementation. It can be tempting in an implementation project to leave the more complex integration to later but ultimately adoption by staff will determine the long-term success. Every minute you save of their time is a minute spent with the patient so it is well worth the effort. The Integration and Interoperability team at Alcidion ensure that our implementations are interoperable with the existing system right from the start.
Many times, when scoping a project the data access needs are left until late in the implementation or planned as a post go-live project. Too often they are neglected as the focus is consumed in “business as usual” requirements. When implementing a solution that requires users to provide more data, it is critically important for ongoing satisfaction to ensure they have access to meaningful information they can use as one of the outcomes. Whether this access is delivered via standard reporting, business intelligence dashboards or other data and analytics services, the project is only half-finished until this component is addressed. Schemas in healthcare solutions are often complex and difficult to understand. Building the knowledge of how these applications store and relate their data has been a key aspect of our success both for any reporting requirements but also for integration. Alcidion’s Data and Analytics team help our customers navigate their way through requirements in this area to deliver the optimal solution.
The four aspects covered today are definitely not the only factors that impact the success of an implementation, I can think of many more. However, they are all important and as such are part of the foundation of our implementation methodology.
Cindy Wills is a Product Manager at Alcidion