EMR Project Delays and Documentation – The worst of times and in the best of times!

Many CIO’s, Healthcare Provider leaders and many others possibly can understand what I am going to say. I have not heard of a project that has gone on time or on budget of late. Maybe I have not read enough. When it comes to implementing one of the latest and greatest products, I think that they have all pretty much been delayed for some reason or another. Projects get delayed for a number of reasons. Early on in my career, I realised that frank and open discussion needs to occur between the project team and the other stakeholders/customer about challenges and unforeseen risks to a project. Political ramifications have always played a part in delays in an EMR project. If you have seen and read my previous blog post about communication within an EMR project, this post would add to it. In order to align expectations, between a vendor and a customer, there should be regular communication and a number of tools that can be used to track and communicate the status during the project lifecycle. Those which end up being used are typically decided by the level of understanding of the project staff. IT consultants and EHR vendors typically use Visio or MS Project to create recommendations and project plans, though Excel will do fine as well when we want to keep things simple.

These documents serve not only as implementation documents but also as reference and archival material for a healthcare organization’s policy and procedures. The Project Charter documents exactly why you are doing what you are doing, what you are implementing, the anticipated schedule and the budget of the project. The charter should also include potential risks, constraints, and discuss concurrent projects along with their milestones. Also, having used a vendor’s portal to actually to manage and keep track of project roles, responsibilities and tasks, I can share with you that it worked. Be open to new ideas. I have said it before and will say it again. These are the ERP projects of this decade. Remember Y2k?

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