7 Critical Risks to Successful Implementation

A successful implementation of our products begins with a strong foundational relationship between our health plan customers and HealthEdge. Our goal is for customers to leverage the power of our products to gain competitive advantage, grow their business, lower costs, and improve member and provider satisfaction. Based on HealthEdge’s extensive experience in implementing our solutions with health plans of all types, sizes, and lines of business, our staff is equipped with best practices and lessons learned – and also the biggest risks to avoid. Successful implementations result from shared goals, clear governance, designated team, and a collaboration mindset to drive change through your organization.

Make sure to avoid these 7 critical implementation risks:  

1. Unclear Governance

Transparency across all levels of the project team is important to understand blockers, drive quick decisions, maintain timelines, and budget. Poor governance at the project and executive sponsorship levels can cause delays in addressing project roadblocks and making critical decisions in a timely manner.

The HealthEdge ‘Transform’ implementation methodology includes daily stand-up meetings for each implementation workstream, weekly program management, and monthly executive sponsorship meetings to ensure issues and risks are addressed timely and the project is progressing to achieve the scheduled milestones and program budget.

2. Team members pulled in too many directions

Team members assigned to an implementation project are typically the most knowledgeable and valuable to daily business operations. These individuals are often pulled in multiple directions trying to keep the trains running while designing and implementing the new system.

When key resources continue to have responsibilities to the current business, issues can arise with the implementation project. These issues can include lack of timely decision making, poor design due to missing input from key business partners, and insufficient test cases.

The client executive sponsor needs to provide relief for the key resources to focus attention on the implementation project and allow others to manage the existing daily business.

3. Multiple Methodologies

Clients unfamiliar with Agile methodology can struggle with the structure and pace. Especially when their other projects are run with a different methodology.

HealthEdge Professional Services has refined the ‘Transform’ methodology approach based in Agile principals. A single tracking tool and methodology is required to truly track the burndown and progress of the overall project to recognize and avoid issues.

4. Insufficient Testing

We often have clients that cut testing time or try to take shortcuts in an attempt to meet milestone deadlines. Issues are identified late in the project and require rework and disruption to the project. This causes project delays and lack of confidence for subsequent phases.

The Transform methodology is based in Agile principals. A main principal is a test first approach. Test suite creation must be prioritized and the various levels outlined in the project must be adhered to.

5. Zero Training

Training can be a difficult area to fit into project timelines. Some clients have only had a handful of the project team take courses and rely on the ‘on-the-job’ training from the HealthEdge team throughout the project.

As a result, client team members struggle with the concepts and terms of HealthEdge products. And the project heavily relies on the HealthEdge team to build the configuration which leads to downstream issues when the client takes ownership after go-live.

The team engaged in the implementation project should take the recommended product training courses to understand the core concepts of the HealthEdge system.

6. Holding onto the Past

Many client team members have been the heroes in creating wrap-around processes or systems to cover legacy system issues. These creative approaches have been in place for 10-20 years and have been designed specifically for that client’s business. Clients try to replicate or hold on to these processes in the HealthEdge design.

The HealthEdge features/ functionality can improve the overall efficiency and business processes. However, this requires the organization embracing the change and adopting the new system – not just trying to make the HealthEdge products do what the legacy system did.

7. Moving the Goalposts

Throughout an implementation project, client teams will try to add new items to the scope. Addition of scope from the initial state of work, regardless of big or small, can add up and cause project delays and/or budget overages.

Strong discipline to the core objectives and timeline is critical to keeping the project on track. Although tempting, new scope should be deferred to a subsequent implementation phase whenever possible.

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About the Author

David Nesbitt

David Nesbitt, Vice President, Sales Operations
LinkedIn
dnesbitt@healthedge.com

David is a senior executive responsible for sales operations across the HealthEdge solution suite. In his current role, he supports all HealthEdge sales activities including partner relationships. David has more than 25 years of healthcare payer experience and brings a broad background spanning software development, product management, professional services delivery and sales. He has been with HealthEdge for more than 13 years. During this time, David has served as Product Manager designing HealthRules Payor functionality as well as Senior Director of Business Services managing the business consultants and education services in Professional Services. Prior to his tenure at HealthEdge, David held product management and delivery roles at NaviNet and Verisk Analytics. His early healthcare experience was in the role of software development at Healthsource/CIGNA.