A look into healthcare software implementation
A Chief Information Officer’s job is not an easy one. Their duty is to navigate an oversaturated market and select only the best services for their organization. When the talk is about the healthcare sector, then this process becomes even more complicated. It is vital that a CIO in the healthcare field do his/her homework well, with accurate research before purchasing and implementing any system at any health-based organization.
Key Points to Be Considered Before Implementing a New Software
Establishing the Need
Before going into research, a CIO should analyze the kind of system that the health organization requires and whether the institution can afford such expenditures. The first step is to understand the need for the software. A new system might be needed to meet particular requirements or healthcare standards. Or maybe to provide a simpler and efficient option for organizing big data that can be used to automate the workflow fully, integrate billing systems, connect with laboratories, store patient data, etc. The objective and the need should be clear before moving ahead.
Selecting the System
Once the objective is well-understood, the next step involves analyzing the specific requirements of the new software. This critical step recognizes the goals and conditions of the system and supports practices to prepare requests for proposals that facilitate objective comparison of sellers.
The healthcare sector experienced a major transformation with the introduction of ICD-10. The International Classification of Diseases, Version 10 (ICD-10) that was launched in 2015 has 68,000 codes, which is five times the number of codes in the previous version (ICD-9). This is important from the standpoint of data integration, with healthcare sectors having to deal with five times as many diagnostic codes.
A must in healthcare organizations is to make sure the system is compliant with 21 CFR Part 11, GCP, HIPAA and other regulations. Other than that, a CIO should take into consideration if the system is able to integrate with other existing systems, and if there is a need to upgrade existing systems, check the cost and see if there’s a need for hardware upgrades (such as servers and clinical monitors) as well.
Seminars, webinars, conferences, and vendor visits all allow potential users to take a demo of the systems and identify which ones best meet the needs of their practice. This initial assessment can keep the evaluation team from facing additional functionality issues that may drive up costs. At the same time, product comparisons will ensure that the software selected fits the bill and provides the essential tools required by the institution.
Cost and Purchases
Even though the system might be selected and finalized, everything comes down to the price. Whether the health organization can afford the system/product and if it does, is the system worth the cost? The right system should be affordable and offer functionality and ease of use. Analyzing the total expenditure and the projected benefits of the system is a critical part of the evaluation. When discussing with the seller, a CIO should ensure that they get an accurate answer to their queries. Find out if training would be provided, who will do it, how long they’ll be on site and what support is offered.
One important factor that influences a successful implementation is the training method. Onsite is the better option for initial training with the possibility of online training for follow-up. An expert in the system can give personal attention to each trainee and conduct one-to-one interaction that speaking over Skype or a phone call does not.
The hospital/clinic staff and personnel will play a major role in actually using the system in any clinical setting, and therefore it is necessary to include them in all the steps mentioned above. The staff should be involved in early discussions about how the new software will be introduced and actively supported in their units.