I sat down with Jodie Hilliker, Nuance EHR Services Director of Activation and Training to discuss this topic. Below are some helpful insights from that discussion:
- A virtual walk-through is the first step for defining organization support needs. In the same manner that facility layout and staffing are assessed for onsite physical resource assignments, virtual go-lives should consider the number of users and skillsets to ensure help is close-at-hand remotely.
- Rather than assign resources to particular floors or locations, define support channels by departments or specialties to streamline access to module specialists. It’s also important to anticipate how users will contact assistance to determine proper staffing for phone lines or online chat.
- Users won’t have physical reminders of virtual resources at the ready, so teach them where to turn for help and what to expect. It’s important that providers know how to access virtual support.
- Make demos available to show users exactly what to expect — double-click this icon, call this number — so there’s no delay or confusion.
- Build awareness of the online team to grow user confidence and build excitement. Remind users that screen sharing and video calls can mimic the same interactions provided by a physical at-the-elbow resource.
Onsite and virtual resources must work together to guarantee a seamless support experience. It starts with interactive orientations where in-house at-the-elbow resources teach virtual resources about their unique EHR build and workflow. Once team knowledge is in sync, strong coordination allows onsite superusers and resources to work in unison with the virtual team and act as one cohesive unit.
“Hold daily meetings to review status reports and ensure proper handoffs from virtual help to onsite superusers for in-person at-the-elbow assistance,” says Hilliker.
Resources in supervisory roles can monitor each channel – watching phone line and online interaction activity to make sure resources are effectively busy, receiving incoming contacts, and providing help promptly. Evaluate data to analyze staffing assignments and identify necessary adjustments, including tapering off or upping staffing resources.
Virtual activation relies heavily on technology, exposing vulnerabilities to service disruptions. To ensure seamless service, develop risk mitigation plans should phone lines, computers, networks, video conferencing software, or EHRs go down. “You can weaken the potential of Murphy’s Law by creating a go-to resource that outlines a concrete plan and maps problems to solutions,” adds Hilliker. “Employ multiple methods of support so users can turn to online chat during a phone outage, for example. Identify people that can fly onsite immediately. If superusers can’t be brought out of service, outline a plan to staff the virtual team. These are all important considerations to make sure the show goes on.”
Virtual activation has its challenges, but it also has its benefits. The additional layer of online considerations is another drop in the activation bucket that should be primed for success.