In every organization there is at least one key person for the EHR. He/she has likely been on staff for years before the electronic record, was a part of the initial implementation process, and has seen all subsequent upgrades and add-ons. This is the person who understands what breaks every time there is an upgrade, knows which nurses are the best super users, and has personal relationships with all of the ancillary systems’ resources. This person knows where the server guy’s favorite fishing hole is and buys Girl Scout cookies from the sys admin’s daughter. You want to connect with this person.
This is pretty close to how I started upgrade training five years ago for a group of new employees. I had found that over countless hours of upgrade work, the key to a successful upgrade was to join forces with those key people. Those who knew how things worked at a client site. Work collaboratively with them on the new features and components being introduced. Their accumulated knowledge from working for years within one system and iteratively learning as new modules were introduced was invaluable to my projects.
In recent times, I have been asked to become that person. Once, the key person at a client I had worked with before went out on medical leave, and I was asked to “be them” for a few weeks. More recently, I have been asked to play this role as the lead admin is preparing for a conversion and implementing a brand new software product. The organization cannot afford to not have her on the new implementation…but to say filling her shoes is “Tier 2 support” Is an understatement at best.
When you have an enterprise application that is used by hundreds of users a day, connects with multiple ancillary systems via interfaces, is responsible for the delivery of healthcare for individuals, and drives billing operations, you can’t just hire a temp. You need to find someone who is not only an expert in the applications that you are using, but also someone who understands relationships and how to work with a team.
When backfill is needed for a system administrator, whose job description was long ago outdated and continues to function under the catch all of “other duties as assigned,” you need to find someone who can sit with them and do discovery about all those little time pieces of the job that they learned a decade ago and continue to do today. You need someone who can develop relationships with the admins of ancillary applications in order to collaboratively get to the bottom of issues that may arise in the delivery of patient care.
When you don’t just need someone to respond to tickets, but you need someone to become that key person overnight, when you need to deliver the best quality healthcare to your patients and service to your users while simultaneously implementing a brand new software application… We got this.