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The Adventures of EHR Implementation March 25, 2011

Posted by Darla in Adventures.
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by Scott Bailey, Cerner Engagement Leader during Syringa’s Implementation

At the time of this narrative, Syringa has been live with Cerner for about ten weeks. All of the planned clinical and financial solutions have been implemented. Syringa is remote-hosted in Kansas City, MO and has an Application Management team that coordinates and performs adjustments to the software build for the Syringa team as they are identified. The original project team continues to manage some remaining issues and to address some needs that pre-date the support team.

As an Engagement Leader who has had the privilege to manage projects overseas and in the US over the last four years, the project at Syringa has provided me an opportunity to reflect on several levels of detail and performance. While many small hospitals may be intimidated by a project of this magnitude, the level of preparedness and the overall ‘we can do it’ attitude at Syringa has been fantastic. The hospital team listened to the experiences and Best Practices of others and incorporated relevant pieces into their newly transformed way of working. The staff at the hospital are a hard-working and knowledgeable group, and it’s common for each staff person to perform multiple functions (‘wearing many hats’). They also have a sense of humor about such things as the ‘Night Before Go Live’ poem can attest.

As with all projects of this type, it has been a learning experience for everyone involved, including the Cerner team. The town where Syringa is located (Grangeville, ID) is the county seat and serves as a hub in their area. A project of this type requires a lot of person-to-person coordination and communication; the fact that Cerner and Syringa are located 1,592 miles apart can make that a difficult process. Weekly calls with each specialty area to verify specifications, details, and to transfer solution knowledge kept the teams in contact with each other. Periodic onsite events (known as a ‘Cerner Invasion’) formalized many of those decisions and provided face-to-face opportunities to adjust course where needed.

There were bumps in the road—the financials portion of the project did not go as quickly as everyone would have preferred and decisions to delay implementation (Go Live) were ultimately the correct ones. In the end, Syringa had one of the smoothest conversions that I’ve been associated with. While it would be nice to take some credit for that, it’s not a reflection on the Cerner team—it’s a reflection on the Syringa team. Testing, testing some more, and testing (yet some more) helped them to not only have a better-prepared build but also to have a better-prepared team. Those results are evident each day as they become more proficient with their use of the EHR, as their questions become ever-higher quality, and as they identify the ‘next direction’ that they and their Critical Access Hospital colleagues need.

It will be a bit sad to move on to other assignments, but it certainly has been an enjoyable experience with the team in Grangeville. And we (the Cerner Syringa team) are confident that there are future chapters in learning and growth both for the client team and for our team. Congratulations to the entire Syringa team, you should be very proud of your achievements.