New software? It's opportunity to train

The implementation of a new health information system at TriHealth in Cincinnati, OH, "has given has given us an amazing opportunity to look very closely at all of our processes," says Stacey Bodenstein, general manager of admitting and registration.

Each patient access employee will be given extensive education on the new software (Epic Care EMR, manufactured by Verona, WI-based Epic Systems Corp.) before going live, The education will include classroom instruction and hands-on practice in a test environment, at which point students will be expected to register patients using the new system.

Three "go live" dates will be used for the new system, for physician offices, and for the Good Samaritan and Bethesda North facilities, each a month apart. Four credentialed trainers will provide all in-class training to "super users" and end users.

"Super users will be onsite 24/7 in each area for the first several weeks after go live [dates] at each facility," Bodenstein says.

The system is "completely different"

Employees will be collecting the same information as they do with the hospital's current system, "but the look of the new system is completely different," says Bodenstein. "As with any major change, fear is the biggest obstacle to overcome."

As the implementation date gets closer, Bodenstein will send out e-mails and hold contests to get employees excited about the change, by letting them know how much easier some processes will be. Staff will be able to find a prescription in the system, for example, instead of calling the physician's office to get it faxed.

Because central scheduling and pre-registration, which were separate functions, will be more closely tied together, employees are being cross-trained to perform both functions. "There will still be the need to have both departments, but there is now an opportunity to decrease the number of contacts with patients prior to service," says Bodenstein. "We hope that this will positively impact patient satisfaction."

In registration areas, posters on the new system depict the benefits to the overall revenue cycle. "Educating my staff on their role in the revenue cycle has always been of great importance to me," says Bodenstein. "There will definitely be a focus on this during training."