Healthcare News & Insights

Hospital IT projects: Keys to success

Experts say many factors influence the success or failure of hospital IT projects, so the question remains: Which approaches are best?

Whether it’s an electronic health records system or more sophisticated technology, most experts agree that for the best results, doctors and nurses must be a part of the planning and implementation process.

Here are 10 additional strategies you’ll want to include in your next IT project plan to ensure a successful outcome:

  1. Present the project as a clinical project, not an IT project. Given that some people are intimidated by technology, emphasize how the new system will have a positive impact on factors such as hospital operations and patient safety.
  2. Communicate clinical and operational executives’ commitment to the project. Make sure the rest of the hospital staff knows the new system is a top priority for the organization.
  3. Form an implementation team with operational leaders from a variety of hospital departments. Give them responsibility for researching, planning and implementing the new system, as well as building support for it among staff.
  4. Conduct an inventory. Make sure the hospital has the right equipment to run the new system and it has the funds to invest in new hardware, if necessary. Don’t forget about bandwidth requirements and Wi-Fi coverage.
  5. Define success. Outline a clear path to achieving success. Give the implementation team the tools and resources it needs to be successful. Goals and objectives should be tangible and measurable.
  6. Anticipate barriers to adoption. Come up with solutions that can be incorporated into the implementation strategy.
  7. Demonstrate support for the project and users. Show users what level of support they can expect from clinicians and the IT department alike. For example, have the original implementation team continue to meet after the go-live date so it can stay on top of maintenance issues and make recommendations for improving the system. And, bring IT and clinical staff together so they can better understand each others needs when it comes to providing timely support of technical issues.
  8. Give staff access to training. Training should be available both in the classroom and on the job. Provide 24/7 help desk support when the new system goes live.
  9. Forgo a hard and fast deadline. Consider phasing in the new technology gradually so everyone has time to get used to it.
  10. Be prepared to schedule additional staff. Avoid making patients wait for care while workers get used to the new system.

 

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