“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” -Morticia Addams
After an implementation or an upgrade, everyone is looking for things to “get back to normal.” Normal was a state where clinicians were generally satisfied with the system, everyone knew the work-arounds, ticket volume was constant and things moved at status quo speed. The IT team was busy but not frantic and the organization as a whole viewed technology as a necessary, but not critical, part of overall success.
Everything chugged along...and then came the new version, the new functionality or the new application. Here's what the journey back to normal looks like after a big roll-out.First Few Days
For the first few days after go-live, normal is just a memory. IT is “all hands on deck” where time-off is suspended. Team members come in early and leave late. End users are frustrated and struggle to find the “new things” that they know they saw in class. Major issues and patient safety concerns are identified and resolved or work-arounds are developed. Non-critical issues or challenges are added to the enhancement list to be reviewed and evaluated. Strategic initiatives requiring IT support are either “squeezed in” or postponed pending resource availability.
First Few Weeks
After a couple of weeks, on the surface, things are beginning to calm down. The IT team works through the back-log of all the tickets and vacation is again an option. End users have generally figured out which new button to click or where to enter data. Users adjust to the workflow changes and any potential work-arounds start becoming second nature. End users are patient because they know that there is a list of enhancement requests somewhere that will be worked on sometime by someone.
After a month, the IT team is still working hard. They continue catching up on tickets, managing the normal day-to-day support and completing maintenance tasks. On top of the maintenance, it is time to roll out updates to the new system. Because of the increased work volume, the enhancement list sits on SharePoint or someone’s project list. The frustration of the end users waiting on the changes begins to deepen and resentment starts to be voiced.
Around the two-month timeline, the regulatory or system updates are put into production and the cycle starts again.
Welcome to the new normal for the organization and the IT team. Each new upgrade brings new opportunities for improvement but no extra time to implement improvements. Maintenance tasks, incidents and the next upgrade take up all of IT's time. All while the enhancement list and organizational discontent continue to grow - discontent from clinicians and end users, as well as the discontent of the IT team who can never seem to get ahead.
Most organizations are dealing with a new normal of less time for maintenance tasks, no time for enhancements, ever-increasing optimization requests and new strategic initiatives. To learn about how Saint Luke’s Health System overcame these challenges, download our free case study or feel free to contact us.
Stephanie McDonell | Vice President, HIT
Cell: 404.788.8690 | [email protected]