Evaluating Healthcare Staffing Software – Part 3: Implementation


Moving your healthcare staffing agency onto a new software platform can be time consuming and expensive. That’s why the first two parts in this series, Part 1: First Things First and Part 2: Establish a Review Committee, are so crucial. Invest the time and resources necessary to document your core business processes, identify the tools and capabilities necessary to perform each business function and define the key performance indicators that should be measured in your healthcare staffing business.

Now that you have carefully chosen a software vendor for your healthcare staffing and recruiting needs, the task of implementing the software begins. Rapid return on investment requires timely implementation. The velocity at which an implementation will progress is determined by the complexity of the entire implementation project; including availability of personnel, software configuration, data migration, back office integrations and training. Cost factors can be controlled by limiting the implementation scope to produce a predictable outcome. Implementing a new system or process requires “top down management” from the executive team, “change management” within the leadership of your organization and adaptability from your staff. You can measure project success by defining benchmarks and measuring them before and after the software implementation.

PREMIUM CONTENT: NALTO Benchmarking Survey Summary Report

Internal Champion
Depending on the size of your agency, you may have previously assembled a selection committee comprised of key members from each department to evaluate and select a suitable solution for your organization based on the considerations outlined in Part 1. This same team should be involved in the software implementation process. An internal “champion” should be identified within the organization that will work closely with your software vendor’s implementation team to ensure the timely implementation of the software. A detailed project plan may also be necessary, depending on the scope and size of the implementation.

The internal champion will also be responsible for understanding the full capabilities of the software solution, collaborate with internal and external team members to agree upon best practices and to ensure each staff member attends the appropriate training necessary to utilize the software and perform their business function. The purpose of the software vendor’s trainer is to conduct educational training of the software’s current functionality, consult on best practices as it pertains to the software setup and utilization, and to respond to end user questions. The purpose of your internal champion is to ensure the effective and ongoing use of the software and your defined business processes, which will drive efficiency and performance within your organization. Initially, your internal staff should be focused on productive processes within the system, while reserving the opportunity to dig deeper into the solution capabilities at a later date.

Data Migration
Now, let’s turn to data migration. It’s important to remember that your database of contacts, clients and notes was not built overnight. Considering the length of time you have been in business, the number of individuals with access to the database and the frequency of adding and removing data throughout the years, you may have accumulated a substantial amount of data; data that may or may not have been updated throughout the years; data that contains duplicates or is no longer valid. Regardless of the validity of your data, be sure to create a backup copy of your data or request a copy from your previous vendor if switching to a new system. If you are switching software vendors that requires the transfer of data, it is a good practice to maintain both systems for at least 90 days until the transition is complete.

Data migration (if applicable) may be performed simultaneously, yet separately, with the implementation and training processes. As your data was not created overnight, it should not be expected that your data will be migrated from one system to another overnight. Data migration is a project of progression. Repeated transfers and acceptance testing of the migrated data set will be required. Review the data specifications of your new vendor to see which types of data they will be able to import and in which format. Whenever possible, it is good practice to “cleanse” your data prior to the data import; remove or separate unnecessary data from the relevant data, remove unnecessary characters, and create uniformity in your data fields (separate home phone, cell phone, emergency phone; remove text characters from numerical fields, etc.). Properly formatted and “clean” data will reduce the time frame and expense of the data migration process, provided you have given your vendor(s) adequate time for preparation and execution.

Be realistic when determining your future “go-live” date and consider all possible factors such as change in personnel, vacation, holidays, complexities with data migration and back office integrations, etc. As the saying goes, “Measure twice, cut once.” Develop a complete understanding of your current and future business needs, partner with an industry-leader that truly understands your core needs and perform a thorough evaluation prior to selecting a software vendor.

MORE: Getting the Basics Right During Implementation

Mike Wejrowski

Mike Wejrowski
Mike Wejrowski is vice president and general manager – agency API Healthcare.

Mike Wejrowski

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