Medical Center Needed Long-Term Upgrade Strategy and Ongoing Support for NextGen Solutions
The ongoing optimization of your EHR to ensure efficiency, success and usability, increases patient volume up to 20% and reduces physician charting time up to 40%.
- Smooth upgrade to NextGen 5.9.2/8.4.2
- Proactive, efficient annual upgrade strategy
- Better utilization of NextGen features and functionality
- Staff able to provide higher level of service to its own pediatrician clients
As part of a leading Children’s Hospital Medical Center, this ITelagen client has delivered comprehensive training, implementation and support for NextGen Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Enterprise Practice Management (EPM) solutions to local independent pediatric practices since 2007.
Bob H., the Manager of Technical Services for NextGen at the Medical Center, hired ITelagen to provide support services for a NextGen 8 series upgrade in 2013. Bob recalls, “We were short-staffed at the time and decided to bring in a third party to help us manage upgrades so that we could continue providing a high level of service to our own pediatric practice customers.”
“We vetted 8-10 potential vendors, going through a lengthy process to learn about each one’s NextGen experience and support services. We connected with ITelagen right out of the gate,” he notes. “They set the bar high and no other vendor matched up to what they could offer.”
Annual Upgrade Strategy
Partnering with ITelagen enabled Bob to be more proactive and efficient with upgrades. Previously, upgrades were challenging for Bob and his team to manage on their own. And upgrades were often driven by outside influences like pediatrician requests or new regulatory requirements.
Together with ITelagen, Bob developed a long-term plan to complete one upgrade per year. This ensures that Bob’s department and the pediatric practices it serves are always running the most current version of NextGen and receiving maximum benefits.
Bob notes, “Knowing that we could depend on ITelagen for upgrade support made the decision much easier to do yearly upgrades. We decided on an annual cycle, where we start testing right after NextGen UGM each November.”
Bob stays informed on NextGen’s offerings and roadmap by participating in discussion groups and the Large Client User Group (LCUG). He also attends UGM each year to see what’s next. After UGM, he holds a calendaring meeting to plan for the next upgrade, with the goal of an April or May release date the following year.
Nailing the timing is important, since April and May are the slowest months of the year for pediatricians. This time period falls between flu season and school physicals, giving practices more time to prepare for the upgrade and train staff.
Upgrading to 5.9.2/8.4.2
Bob decided to complete the 5.9.2/8.4.2 upgrade after 2018 UGM, with the goal of an early May 2019 go-live. ITelagen helped Bob’s entire team stay on track throughout the planning process, and then completed the actual upgrade over a weekend.
Bob reports, “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give ITelagen a 10. The Project Manager talked to me constantly, gave me documentation so that I knew exactly what to expect, and very clear instructions for the upgrade weekend. The timeline was dead-on, and I couldn’t be happier with how things went.” All clinics opened as usual on Monday, and no patient appointments were impacted.”
ITelagen’s Upgrade Expertise
According to Bob, the most important things ITelagen brought to this project were:
- Strong Communication. “The Project Manager assigned to us was by far the strongest one we’ve ever seen. She was well-versed in what needed to happen and knew how to communicate it so that everyone was working from the same sheet of music.”
- NextGen Expertise. “The upgrade itself went very smoothly and there were no missteps by ITelagen. One minor issue came up, and ITelagen resolved it quickly with NextGen.”
Initial reporting shows a smooth overall upgrade with minimal impact. Bob estimates that the 5.9.2/8.4.2 upgrade generated about half as many customer service tickets and 60% fewer calls from practices over the last upgrade.
“Based on the data, this was the smoothest upgrade we’ve done since forming as an organization. With upgrades, you can test forever but there are always things you don’t see until it’s live and real people are actually using it their own way. We go into these upgrades expecting the first week to be really busy; it’s all-hands on deck with everyone ready to take calls and work through issues. This time, the team sat around waiting for calls and not many popped up or they were solved within minutes. It went as well as we could possibly expect for something that big.”
Upgrading with Confidence
So far, Bob is pleased with the latest NextGen version. His team is making a focused effort to guide its pediatric practice customers toward best practices in using the solution, limiting customizations and workflow changes to ensure compliance with MU and other regulatory reporting requirements. “There are a few modifications that we have to keep, but we’re now using the vast majority of what NextGen offers out of the box. This helps us and the pediatric practices that depend on us.”
Bob encourages other healthcare organizations to stay current with NextGen upgrades and the new features that come with each version. “If you use NextGen and need someone to help you navigate through the constant system changes and federal programs, there’s no one better to help with that process than ITelagen. If you have a question, they either have the answer or will find it out for you within an hour. I can’t image any partner that would be stronger or more beneficial for NextGen support and upgrades than ITelagen.”