Five Pitfalls to Avoid in Your NextGen 5.9/8.4 EHR Upgrade | Part 3

#3: Failing to Properly Set Expectations for Clinicians and Business Users

If you missed the first two pitfalls, check them out here. We’re on to #3 which is all about setting, and managing, expectations of the people in your organization. Fail to miss this pitfall and project failure will be looming.

So what’s at center of managing expectations? Communication.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins.

Tony nails it. Perception is reality and it’s unique to the individual. The sooner you embrace the fact that each person in the organization will view their NextGen upgrade uniquely, the better prepared you and your team will be in successfully managing expectations.

Here are 7 tips for successfully managing expectations in your NextGen upgrade:

  1. Plan. Plan your communications approach in writing. Don’t just talk about it. Be thoughtful as to how often, what to say, what not to say, and who will say it. Communication planning is an essential element of your overall project plan.
  2. Leader. Pick a communications point person. This person is not always the project lead. Often, it’s valuable if the person is not the project lead. Project leads are often too close to the work making it difficult to be consistent and objective. The communications point has the role of executing the tactical outgoing messages while also helping field feedback.
  3. Feedback. Create an easy and flexible feedback mechanism for the test team and the entire organization. Whether using email, text, phone, and/or meetings, promote all the entry points and use more than a single email message to do it.
  4. Campaign. Treat your communication efforts like a campaign. Use posters or business cards or both to get the word out about the vision for the project as well as critical tactical activities.   
  5. Details. When sharing details about user experience changes, be specific about what that means for the users through their lens. Whether it’s the testing team or the broader pool of users, make sure you use polite candor in sharing critical information.
  6. Expect. Expect the application (screens, menus, etc.) to look slightly different post-upgrade. Expect some breakage (that’s why testing is so important). It’s a big, complex product and while upgrades generally bring bug fixes, they may also introduce new bugs. The goal is to test thoroughly, report any issues encountered and apply fixes (if available) or come up with workarounds (if not).
  7. Anticipate. Anticipate negative reactions. Although generally unavoidable, you can reduce them with your efforts above and counter-engage with the “why” this is taking place and that their voice matters in helping make it successful.

While it seems obvious that good communication is critical to managing expectations for your NextGen upgrade, don’t take it for granted. Be deliberate. Be prepared. If you are, your upgrade project has a bright future and an appropriately clean end.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Five Pitfalls to Avoid in Your NextGen 5.9/8.4 EHR Upgrade...#4: Thinking DIY is Less Expensive and Better.


About the Author

Michael Patrick, President at Systeem

With more than 20 years of technology and technology sales experience, Michael has led Systeem’s operations since day one, connecting our clients with technology, processes and ideas that make their lives easier and happier. 

Learn More About Michael