Implementation, and the Advance Guard
Christine Boehms HawkinsThe second of a three-part post on ensuring a smooth transition for your referring clinician customer base to a new radiology portal. Make sure your vendor addresses the specific steps and timing involved in implementing the radiology portal as part of your project plan and implementation process documentation. Key portal implementation process steps include the following:
  • Conduct a workflow analysis to ensure the vendor understands all your key requirements related to the portal so they can configure it appropriately
  • Define the method for uploading clinician contact information into your radiology portal
  • Define the method for setting up clinician username and passwords (this is one of the more challenging aspects of this process, especially if you have tens of thousands of referrers). It also depends on the system functionality. Some options can include:
    • If you can access the old system username and passwords, you can load them into your new system and nothing changes for the clinician
    • Set up new username and passwords ahead of time for all clinicians and then provide them with their new usernames and passwords during training
    • Set up new usernames and passwords during the training session. Have the clinician register at that time and create his or her own username and password, or you can do it for them while you are on site
  • Define the method for installing any downloadable software (as needed) onto the clinician’s desktop and setting up the portal link on the clinician’s desktop
  • Portal user training for all staff that touches / supports it
  • Portal user training and quick reference guides for staff and a version for referring clinicians
If you have a very large referring clinician base, you may want to roll out the new portal to a small test group of clinicians (while keeping the others live on the old portal) at first to ensure everything works properly and to evaluate the installation and set up process, your training and communication tools, and your support. Once you pilot your roll out model and refine as needed, you can then launch the radiology portal to the rest of your clinician base. The marketing team has to promote and explain the features and benefits, as well as provide user training for the RIS/PACS/portal functionality that affects referring clinicians. This means they have to have system training geared to the areas they need to use or understand. In addition to the portal, these areas can include scheduling, practice analysis, and ability to know the status of a report, or view the radiologists’ worklist, and any number of other areas depending on their role. Advance Communication Communicate the following key facts to your referring clinician base well in advance of the roll out, and communicate it a few times. Communications can be in the form of a letter, brochure, office visit, phone call, e-mail or a fax. In a hospital setting this can be communicated in a medical staff meeting, newsletter, memo, or bulletin board posting. Ideally you utilize a combination of these vehicles. Key communication points:
  • Objective - You have made a new investment in radiology IT in order to speed report turnaround and improve the level of service you provide to your clinician base.
  • Features/benefits of the new RIS/PACS/Portal
  • System requirements of the new RIS/PACS/Portal
  • Changes - Describe the changes clinicians can expect with the new portal compared to the old system and process.
  • Action Plan and Timing – List the steps involved on your end and the clinician’s end and the specific dates of when the actions will happen as it relates to the radiology portal deployment at the clinician site.
  • Apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause the clinician.
  • Imaging facility key contact information
Next: Referring clinician training, evaluation and follow-up, and marketing and promotion. Read Part One Where's the patient Read Part Three Training: The Portal Success Insurance Policy Christine Boehm Hawkins, is president, Jump Start Consulting, a full-service marketing consulting firm specializing in the health care/imaging industry;, twitter@ChristyJHawkins