The Key to a Successful NextGen 5.9/KBM 8.4 Upgrade
TempDev has helped many clients perform the latest NextGen 5.9/KBM 8.4 update. Our team of Project Managers, Developers, and Trainers have picked up a lot of tips and tricks along the way that we’re happy to share with you. Let us assist you to make your next upgrade a smooth one.
Learn From the Past
Start your planning process by reviewing the lessons learned from previous KBM and application upgrades. Identify what you could do differently this time by going over the project plans and timeline. Do you need to change the schedule, resource allocation or milestones to better align with organizational goals?
Include physician champions from the start so they don’t get surprised later down the road. They can raise issues that might interfere with patient care or daily job duties. Identify key stakeholders and super users in the project. This team will act as an advocate for success during the first few weeks of implementation when stress levels can be high from end-users adapting to change.
Thorough Gap Analysis of NextGen 5.9/KBM 8.4
TempDev has a created a custom Gap Analysis web tool to help automatically identify customizations and utilization of templates, documents and SQL stored procedures. It also acts as a guide for the project team to manage the development workload. We also recommend doing the following:
- Review any requirement documents for previously completed custom development. You don’t want any of your customized functions or integration breaking due to the upgrade.
- Check your clinical workflows to see if additional changes are necessary.
- Review the NextGen release notes for insight into the differences between the versions.
You can use this information to plan out custom development projects that happen before, during or after the upgrade.
Have Multiple Non-Production Environments
Only apply the NextGen 5.9/KBM 8.4 upgrade to a production environment after a thorough vetting in test environments. When you have multiple testing environments, you avoid bringing down systems that could impact patient outcomes and other damaging effects. The ideal configuration consists of at least two non-production environments. Use one of these for development and the other for current state development. You should copy the current state environment immediately before the production upgrade so there’s a reference point of how things worked before the upgrade. If possible, a third environment for training while development is happening is ideal when there are large amounts of development that needs to occur within a shortened timeframe.
Leave Enough Time for the Super User Team to Test
Try to complete template and document development far in advance of the planned upgrade date. The super user team shouldn’t feel rushed as they start working with the software so they can keep an eye out for any issues. Most projects require multiple rounds of user testing for any custom development. You can take this opportunity to create training materials based on the future state environment before end-user training officially begins. The super user team should test all of the workflows multiple times to check for bugs and usability issues. Pay special attention to workflows that are part of previously customized templates.
You also want to take this time to work with vendors and test any interfaces. Bring in billing and admin team members outside of your initial super user group for this part of testing. They will check their workflows, as well as, confirm that the necessary data is included, or let the upgrade team know what’s missing.
Thorough End User Training
When end users are equipped with the knowledge of the upgrade with testing and training materials, they will see the value in the upgrade sooner. Increased efficiency and productivity makes a big difference in the office. Sufficient training also increases end user adoption and reduces change management issues. Highlight the items that the users access the most, using data from super user testing and other sources. Work your way down to the least used.
Reach out to the physicians who you know will need extra help to learn how to use new functionality or changes to the workflow. Schedule one-on-one training time to give them the dedicated assistance they need.
For larger groups, eLearning training works well and TempDev can work with you to develop the curriculum and learning modules.
Clear Communication Plan
Create a schedule to clearly communicate when different tasks are going to occur. Going into an implementation and go-live week without a plan can create major complications. NextGen will calculate how long the upgrade takes based on their experience in your test environment. Keep in mind that production environments are typically faster.
The testing and validation team must be available within an hour’s notice to start this process. Create an ideal method for the help desk and super users to coordinate the communication of issues. Publish known issues to super-users with a planned timeline to resolve so that duplicate issues aren’t reported and the project team can focus on resolutions.
Busy clinics often need extra on-site assistance for clinicians that need hand holding. They might not have the resources available to guide end users through the changes, especially if many people want a one-on-one training environment. TempDev can augment your staffing resources with on-site or remote assistance and to answer any questions that come up during those first days in the upgraded system.
No one wants an upgrade to have issues, but they can pop up no matter how well you test. Make sure that everyone knows what to do and who to talk to when it occurs.
Post-Go Live Review
Review the support requests for valuable information. You can identify known problems that need to be fixed in the short and long-term. Read through feedback that addresses usability and feature requests to start planning application customizations.
Upgrading to NextGen 5.9/KBM 8.4 requires many resources and specialized skill sets. If you want an experienced, helping hand leading the way for you, partner with TempDev on your upgrade.