Written by the team at Azura Vascular Care
Implementing and rolling out a new system in your organization is always exciting but can present its challenges when it comes to incorporating new technology and involving different teams. We had a “perfect storm” of events occur within our organization, but with the help of RL’s support team, we successfully implemented and have been using RL for over two years.
Working through and overcoming the challenges we faced allowed us to improve as RL users and build confidence in our skillset. Hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes! Looking back, each step of the process presented learning opportunities we hope fellow users will find helpful and applicable during their own roll out and implementation of RL Solutions.
How We Chose RL Solutions
Based on our experience, to arrive at this decision we recommend researching the product extensively and attending RL Palooza—RL’s annual user group conference. This four day conference will give you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the product, identify how it’s capabilities will meet your organization’s needs, and get your initial questions answered by all the RL experts who are readily available and eager to help during the week-long conference.
You can directly engage with the product and “learn by doing” during the hands on training sessions. These sessions will allow you to explore the different modules first hand, build reports, and understand the overall look and feel of the program. In addition to getting hands on training, RL Palooza is also a great place to start building your RL Network! Take the opportunity to connect with RL staff and other RL users. The knowledge shared by them is invaluable and the RL staff are always available to help when you need assistance.
After you’ve attended RL Palooza and have your questions answered, determine the modules appropriate for your patient care setting and commit to the program. It was to our organization’s disadvantage to delay decision making and ultimately implementation by 18 months. Based on that experience, we recommend setting a sensible timeline between researching the product and committing to it – roughly a 6-month window. This timeline will allow you to have the product in hand as users, exploring what it looks like, and give you an understanding of how it works for your organization, from a user’s perspective. So by the time the next RL Palooza rolls around, you’ll be able to attend and benefit as active RL users.
1. Implementation – Involve your Team
Once we finally had the product in hand it was time to get to work! Having selected the Risk, Peer Review, and Root Cause modules our focus was primarily on Risk at first—as Peer Review and Root cause both stemmed from there. During this stage we received paper forms of all the templates from RL Solutions and collaborated as a team of four – one of whom was a part of our internal IT team. Our team would meet regularly with the RL team via conference calls to discuss these templates and make modifications needed to fit our organization’s needs. It is important to make these adjustments before implementation begins so that you’re not going back after production is underway. Due to unexpected internal changes shortly into this phase, the team went from four members to mainly two. 1 internal IT employee for as-needed technical support and 1 who became the sole operator in managing RL Solutions. Flash forward to a time right before “go-live”, our sole-operator left the organization and IT support was reassigned.
Losing the primary system operator inevitably presented its challenges but also highlighted the ways we could have acted differently from the start—especially during this phase. We could have improved the roll out process and minimized the setback that turnover presented and its effect on the impending “go-live.” It would have been more practical to identify permanent key players—including internal IT-- who would remain active throughout the process. These players would collaborate and share responsibilities from the very beginning so that in the event of turnover, the knowledge and expertise exist with more than one user.
2. Testing - Identify Your “Power Users”
When it came time to testing the system we called upon the “power users” in our organization to help. These are users—specifically facility managers in our case—who were identified as being intuitive, computer savvy, and adaptable to change. In our organization the facility manager role could be held by a registered nurse, radiology technician, or a patient service coordinator. We chose to engage a diversified test group and called upon one of each to trial the system in three different facilities. In addition to our power users, we would recommend including internal IT support to trial as well.
Use the trainings materials supplied by RL to orient your test team. These resources are clear, comprehensible, and readily available through RL’s online community called HUB. One of the best advantages of the RL trainings is if you to train someone new there is no need to reinvent the wheel!
During this phase we learned how important it was to take the time to try and “break the system,” so to speak, to find where the program might not work or glitch while using it. Play with the program, see what happens when you enter something incorrectly, if you enter something twice, if you exit a file before completing etc. Allow for plenty of time to work through each form and module your organization will be utilizing and don’t rush!
3. Post-Test, Pre-Roll Out – Educate
We hosted out a trial period of RL’s software with three facilities before the full rollout to over 50 facilities (and growing!) over three regions nationwide. After we were through testing the program it would have been beneficial to spend more time educating and establishing regional resources for our future clinical users to refer to during the roll out and go live. For organizations with a similar landscape, we would recommend calling in regional representatives and leaders to introduce the program, orient and share training prior to roll out. The more support and expertise the better!
4. Roll Out - Disperse Knowledge
We depended heavily on WebEx training sessions to introduce RL to clinical staff with some scattered in-person trainings throughout. It was during this phase we recognized just how helpful it would have been to have additional regional help training the masses. In addition, we found there was better response to orienting the program with those who received in person training which we could have scheduled more of with more regional support. Our recommendation would be to disperse the knowledge prior to roll out so that you can utilize power players and expert users and as a team you can divide and conquer!
5. Go Live - Collaborate and Communicate
Our go live experience was mayhem! Losing our main administrator, our internal IT support tole, introducing new system users and going live with the software all happened during the same week. To make matters worse, it was at that time when we discovered additional errors in forms and misconfigured user settings. It was most unfortunate that these were all avoidable problems had we implemented the phases leading up to go live. While we recognize the “perfect storm” we faced is unlikely to occur for most, we would encourage future users to learn from our missteps!
We would advise against designating sole responsibility of implementing RL software to one person. In the event of unexpected administrator turnover, adjust your roll out and go live schedules accordingly, everyone should be fully acclimated on the go-live date.
Even in the best of circumstances, complications happen. The most useful takeaway through our experience was learning how valuable RL’s support team is! Once we identified what we needed to get our go-live back on track, it was RL to the rescue. We were able to coordinate additional training with their experts, so our new administrators could be brought up to speed and recuperate the process.
Our advice is once your organization commits to RL Solutions, plan for success! Collaborate, strategize and communicate with your team from the beginning and through each phase of implementation. Be proactive when problems arise and call on your RL resources for extra support. Discovering problems along the way presents opportunities to connect with the RL network you started building at RL Palooza. Take advantage of the RL Hub to converse and engage with your fellow RL users. Should you find your implementation to be error-ridden, you can rest assured knowing there are ways to rally back—we are living proof!
Ready to have RL be a part of your team? Find out how you can get started. Contact us for a demo today.