Site visits — learning from others

What do NHS Trusts (hospitals in the UK), the Department of Defense Military Health System (MHS) and Brigham and Women’s Health Care (BWHC) have in common? They all think they can learn from our experience implementing an integrated electronic health record (EHR) at UMHS. We hosted a group from the UK in early July and hosted military leaders from MHS this week. And we are planning to host a team from BWHC in late October. The UK and MHS are in the planning and vendor selection phase while BWHC is less than a year away from their big bang implementation of a new integrated EHR.

One of the great things about the health care industry is that we are always willing to learn from one another. Site visits may be about EHR implementations, quality and patient safety programs, lean efforts, or another area of common interest.

Site visits may be arranged through consultants, vendors, professional organizations, or a leader’s own professional network.  The UK and MHS visits were arranged through Deloitte, our EHR implementation partner. The BWHC visit was initiated through my professional network; I served as their CIO for 12 years before coming to UMHS. As BWHC and UMHS are of similar size and complexity, I thought they could benefit from meeting my team here and learning from our experience.

The specific goals and objectives of site visits vary but there are common concerns. These include: project governance, change management, training, go live planning, and support.

The UK group represented University College Hospitals London and Great Ormond Street Hospital. As part of a week-long North America series of site visits, they wanted to discuss with us:

  • Why we chose the EHR solution we did, and why we didn’t pursue a “self-developed” or “best of breed” approach.
  • How qualitative and quantitative benefits were identified and the extent to which those benefits have been realized.
  • Challenges and lessons regarding: board / executive level buy-in, clinical engagement throughout the project, program leadership, broad stakeholder engagement and communications, and the go live approach.

The Department of Defense recently issued their RFP for an EHR to replace their legacy system. They are in the planning and definition stages for the program; their vendor and implementation partner decisions are yet to come. They are visiting large health care organizations to understand best practice approaches to large scale change management. They run 54 hospitals and 100’s of clinics around the globe, with 9.6M beneficiaries and over 150K users – just listening to the scale and complexity of what they have to do made our job at UMHS sound easy! We spent several hours sharing lessons and experiences about project governance and change management.

BWHC is in the final stretch of their Epic EHR implementation, planning the training, activation and ongoing support phases. They want time to review our workflows in key areas. The topics for their visit will include: communications, go live support, interfaces, recruitment for credentialed trainers and super users, and end user activities like personalization, practice labs, and workflow dress rehearsals.

I look forward to hosting future site visits and being hosted elsewhere as we roll out new systems at UMHS. Health care may be local, but IT lessons are global.

2 thoughts on “Site visits — learning from others

  1. Fadi Islim on said:

    Thank you for sharing, great post.
    very interesting questions from your friends to learn from our experience, they are all good questions, but the one question got my attention is when they asked why didn’t we self develop the system. and i just feel like to ask them the same exact question ,and why they came all the way from Europe to the states. isn’t things over there running a little differently? off course i do respect that they are trying to be as ready as possible, i was just wondering. if they do come back with AC’s I personally would be happy to help answering any questions.
    great post, thank you so much for sharing with us.

    • Sue Schade on said:

      Fadi, thanks for the questions. The UK group had limited options to visit there given what’s happened with hospital systems in recent years.

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