Making the Transition
When it came time to actually flip the switch to PCC, Dr. Cain felt confident because of the time and attention PCC put into the training and implementation processes.
Smith worked with the practice through the six-month transition to PCC’s EHR, beginning with a kick-off meeting.
“The kick-off is a day and a half long meeting,” she says. “We get to know the practice a little bit more and we give an overview of the software. It does have a training component to it, and that’s also when we start discussing what they’ll want to think about as far as their workflow improving when they come online with the new system.”
Then, PCC’s team and Dr. Cain’s team had weekly meetings through a video conferencing platform and an online project management tool to provide support and organize next steps.
Dr. Cain and her team had action items and due dates clearly laid out, and at the weekly meetings they’d check in on progress.
While the practice worked on documenting and refining processes for things like billing, charting, and scheduling, the PCC team got started on the data conversion process so that the practice could hit the ground running.
“Our development team gets their data and converts it into our systems,” Smith says. “They actually start on our system with all of their previous visit notes.”
Smith notes that transitioning to a new system doesn’t require reinventing any processes that are working well, but they do work with every practice to identify inefficiencies and create new workflows that work better.
“If you have workflows in your office that you feel like are going really well, you don’t need to change them just because you’re moving to PCC’s EHR,” she says. “However, if there are workflows that have been driving you nuts and you want to change them, now’s the time to do it.”
After all of the components are in place and the foundation has been laid for a successful transition, two members of the PCC team travelled to the practice for the go live date.
“Usually we’re in the office a few days before their first official day live because we do like to do some training for the whole staff on-site beforehand,” says Smith.
On December 1, 2018, Topeka Pediatrics flipped the switch on their new EHR. For Dr. Cain, the in-person support was key.
“They worked through charts with us, double checked that everything was working the way we anticipated it working,” she says.
PCC sees that ability to troubleshoot in the moment when the system is brand new as setting the practice up for success over the long-term.
“Those first couple of days there tend to be a lot of questions, and that way we’re right there,” Smith says. “They can literally turn around and say, ‘Hey, can you show me how to do this?’ instead of having to try to get a hold of us over the phone.”
The goal throughout the implementation process is to make it manageable for a team who continues to see patients and conduct their daily business. Dr. Cain and the staff at Topeka Pediatrics rose to the challenge, says Smith.
“We know that we’re talking to people that are running a practice. They’re seeing patients, they’re having to deal with the day to day, and then on top of that, we’re asking them to do things,” she says. “We try to make it manageable chunks, but it makes such a difference when you have a practice that is really engaged in that process. You can tell the difference when they get to go live, because they’re so much more comfortable with the system.”
After the new EHR is running, the training and support continues for another six to eight weeks, with weekly video conference meetings and Basecamp support. Then, the practice “graduates” to the support team for help when they need it.