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Organizations implementing electronic health record (EHR) systems face several challenges when handling early adoption and provider/staff engagement. The lead up to taking a new system live involves many steps. Once the implementation is complete, when do you think the go-live begins? If you said, “go-live begins at the cutover.” then you would be incorrect. There are two final steps before cutover that are extremely important to overcome early adoption challenges. A successful appointment conversion and soft go-live are necessary steps before cutover. These steps allow the front desk and scheduling staff exposure to the new EHR system before the rest of the system is turned on. 

To ensure success, a group of trained experts should also participate in the conversion process. Members from the training team, software analysts, clinic managers, and project leadership can guide end-users, answer questions, and note any software issues that may arise. At-the-elbow (ATE) consultants and experienced consultants, supplied by a vendor partner, can also offer guidance during conversion and throughout the soft go-live.  

What is appointment conversion? 

  • Takes place the weekend before soft go-live  
  • Communal effort to recreate future appointments in the new EHR system 
  • Pre-registration tasks include establishing guarantor and coverage, creating an account to bill for services, and entering referrals for future appointments and procedures 
  • Most successful when all front desk and scheduling end-users participate to gain hands-on experience 

What is soft go-live? 

  • Follows appointment conversion and runs for 1-2 weeks before cutover 
  • End-users navigate in their legacy systems for current patient visits and the new EHR for future appointments 
  • Allows time to learn new workflows, resolve technical issues and become familiar with the new software before the main go-live 
  • The registration/check-in process reduces unnecessary delays for patient care at cutover 

Once a new EHR system is live, front desk check-in using the new software system can be tremendously slow. This is in part due to the necessary demographic and insurance data needing entry while patients wait to be checked-in. Anything that can be done to speed this process up like pre-loading appointment, referral, and registration information will improve both the staff and patient experience while also minimizing excess wait time.  

Implementing new software systems is disruptive, but appointment conversion and soft go-live can lessen that impact on patient care. If you are interested in learning more about these important steps, contact us today.

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