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Remote Implementations / Go Lives

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COVID-19 Ushers in a Rousing Remote Go-live

As New Zealand went into one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to thwart the spread of COVID-19 in March, teams from one of Auckland’s premier hospital groups, MercyAscot, and InterSystems were working on a go-live of TrakCare’s patient administration and billing functionality, the first stage of a full clinical deployment. The team knew the less time between preparation and go live, the higher the likelihood that staff would retain all of the hard work they’d already completed. According to MercyAscot’s Project Director, Sarah Gardner, “the longer we waited, the more difficult it would have been.”
COVID-19 threatened to derail the effort.

But it didn’t.

Instead, employees from the organizations innovated their way to a remote go-live of InterSystems TrakCare, one of the first and few to date. The successful go live, which occurred in mid-May, paved the path for future remote implementations. That experience is all the more vital in a world where disruption is the norm and the ability to be nimble is essential.

According to Nicole Cameron, Professional Services Director for InterSystems, “With the virtual go-live model, location barriers were removed, and the strategies that were implemented were very enabling. It was a massive and successful change.”

So, what made the remote launch a success?

Strong problem-solving. A virtual go-live model built the foundation for the implementation, which required a novel work structure, backup resources, and scheduling to allow for some employee downtime. The project also relied on three layers of redundancy, in case an employee’s internet access failed during a critical stage such as data migration.

Heads-up communications. Teammates graded issues depending on their complexity, enabling the focused execution of tasks that would rarely pose a challenge in person. Both MercyAscot and InterSystems relied on internal triage processes to accomplish mission-critical tasks. Employees tracked communications to prevent the loss of pivotal information, and everyone became familiar with each other’s faces thanks to countless time spent on Microsoft Teams.

A trusted partnership. Had this go-live been scheduled for a year ago, when the relationship was still new, it might not have run as smoothly. “We have created a strong relationship with someone that trusts us to do the job from afar,” Cameron notes.

Now that TrakCare is up and running at MercyAscot, all eyes are on the future project milestones that will drive care transformation across the organization. InterSystems, meanwhile, will continue to examine and leverage new ways of working and lessons learned.

“I call it the COVID sandbox. We are playing with ideas that will have a material impact on how we do things in the future,” Cameron says. “You might actually get quicker resolution of the issues for customers. We might be able to implement more effectively and with faster turnaround for the client.”

First, however, MercyAscot and InterSystems intend to celebrate the remote go-live virtually. And few toasts are worthier than one that honors innovation in service of a more data-driven reality, all amid the worst pandemic in generations.
Learn more about the remote go-live at MercyAscot.


This story originally appeared the July 20, 2020- OnTrak News Flash No.5: The Fight Against COVID-19 newsletter

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