In the previous post of this series, we outlined key steps to seamlessly transition from paper-based rounding to a digital process. Today, we focus specifically on IT implementation, arguably the most important step of the transition. With any software integration, leadership must spend considerable time researching their options, understanding all technical requirements, and strategizing to get the most out of their investment.
Upon proper research and selection of the right rounding solution for your organization’s needs, which you can read more about in our eBook “8 Steps to Evaluating a Digital Rounding Solution,” it is time to begin the implementation process. Below are seven steps that outline how the process should take place to ensure a successful launch.
It is important that hospital leaders are honest, detailed, and realistic when speaking with the selected vendor about their goals for the new rounding program. Leadership should select team members to serve as project leaders, as well as IT contacts to help communicate all of the organization’s technical needs. The hospital and vendor can then coordinate other important details such as the scope of the program and the timeline for implementation.
This step will likely be a collaboration between the vendor and the hospital’s IT department. The vendor will want to know what EMR system the health system is currently on and the preferred interface to transfer files (SFTP or ADT HL7). If transferring files via SFTP, the hospital should automate the process to send data every 30-60 minutes. Finally, the vendor will need to have access to wireless network options within the organization.
In addition to the rounding software, the hospital will likely have to purchase new devices to support the rounding program. Depending on the rounding solution, this might include smartphones, iPads or other tablets, computers, or analytics platforms. To simplify setup, hospital leaders should ensure the vendor will provide consultation and support throughout the entire process.
During this step, the vendor will want to better understand the hospital’s current rounding programs. This includes how often rounds are occurring, how rounds are documented, the types of rounds performed, and the current process for service recovery. Leaders should also determine who in the hospital will be using the digital tool and how they want to customize certain features such as automated alerting to ancillary departments. Gathering this information will help the vendor understand what it will take for the technology to be successful.
Before the rounding solution is deployed, the hospital should have a “dry run” to check that all technical elements are working properly. The hospital should first transfer a test file from the EMR/reporting system to ensure the data feed is uninterrupted and the content of the file is accurate.
Technology is only as successful as the people that are using it. The new rounding program will not achieve the desired outcomes unless users feel comfortable with the digital tool. The vendor and hospital must work together to schedule on-site user trainings, ensuring that staff members at all levels of the organization understand the features of the tool as well as the workflow for issue resolution.
The most exciting part – it is time to begin your new and improved rounding process!
The relationship between the hospital and vendor does not end after the hardware and software are successfully implemented. To continually improve patient care and reach organizational rounding goals, the hospital should schedule regular check-ins and notify the vendor of any changes that arise or IT issues they experience. With any new tool or program, ongoing communication between the vendor and hospital staff is crucial to the success of both parties.
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