Going Live on EMIS Web

 Well after the 12 week familiarisation period the day came to eventually go live. I have to admit to not sleeping well the night before but I got into work bright and early at 7:30am.

As a surgery that still works with an open morning surgery there was a queue of 2, an hour before opening.  We had put posters up and messages on the door, prescriptions and web site that it would be an emergency only morning clinic.

So I approached them and explained that it was limited service and there could be a delay if the switchover had any problems.  I could quite clearly see that one was really ill but the other one is a regular and turned and said ok it was nothing important I will come back next week. How ridiculous that someone would stand in the rain for an hour for nothing important.  The other one I was kind to and let them sit in the waiting room.

I was told to expect a couple of engineers as well as 2 floor walkers from EMIS to arrive about 8:00am.

Build it and they will come

Before I knew it we had about 10 people on site, from EMIS, IT and the CSU who quickly got to work. This involved the reconfiguring of the computers and working towards the technical switchover.  By 8:20am with 10 minutes to opening time the first computer came to life and we had officially made the switch.

The engineers then worked methodically and got each of the other computers up and running and sort any minor problems

The test would really come when the doors opened and the phones were put over, would we be able to cope? Would we remember what we had been told?

Luckily most patients had cooperated and there was only a couple waiting outside,

We had two floor walkers who were fantastic and were available to help out and explain how to do things. So we were all scurrying around from reception, to doctors or nurses room to lend support and offer words of encouragement.

Our biggest problem I think really was we were slower than normal, but by and large the staff that had been enthusiastic all along, were coping well.  It all seems different when it is live and so moving around the system took time to find the correct module.

I think the admin/secretarial side was more difficult to handle as it was a complete change of procedures.

The first rush over and the day to day work began. The support offered by the floor walkers was immense and reassuring.  Once the engineers had seen that everything technically was working well, they left.

The surgery fortunately was not busy which helped, and as we were using the switchover to change some of our working practices there was a certain amount of pressure and tension. However the management felt that if we did not implement the changes from day one we never would.

The morning went on and yes staff became fraught and there were tensions but we coped and when lunch approached we all breathed a sigh of relief.   That afternoon we began to feel that we were getting to grips with the system and an air of calm descended on us.

We were offered a floorwalker for day 2 and by then the confidence was oozing, each member of staff learning something quickly cascaded it down to others and that gave them a feeling of personal success.  It was all coming together and with more patients in the clinical side it was working well but just a little slower than normal.

The pilot has turned off the fasten your seat belt sign

Next week will be a little more challenging as we do not have on site support except for one day so we will have to see how it goes.  My first impressions are very positive.

So what advice would I give others facing the changes:

  • Using the maxim “Failing to plan is planning to fail” ensure you have planned using the advice from the CSU and EMIS.
  • Ensure in the period leading up to the change that you show a positive feel to the change as this rubs off onto the staff.
  • Encourage time to practice and navigate around the system.
  • Make certain you get all the training allotted.
  • Spend time reviewing what the new system can do and how you can optimise it to improve working practices. For example we had a telephone consultation book as well as a home visit book.  This has now been done away with and we have it all computerised.
  • Do not always ask should we do that but just do it as giving people a choice creates problems as no one seems to like changing.
  • A strange piece of advice but I decided not to visit other surgeries all though they offered support, I felt that the training we got was adequate and did not want to pick up any bad habits.
  • However I did send my assistant to one practice more to see how we could best improve our working and this was a good thing as many of the changes came as a result of this visit.
  • Ensure patients are told of the change and that service on the first couple of days may be limited.

Main piece of advice is, just go for it as it really is an excellent clinical system.

Good luck!

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