08 – Pre-implementation

Make sure to invest plenty of time in the pre-implementation phase as this can help to prevent problems from occurring at later stages. These key steps highlight some important elements of the pre-implementation planning:

  1. Work closely and collaboratively with the supplier.
  2. Undertake a training needs analysis for all types of users (administrative, clinical and technical staff) who will interact with the system. The format of the education and training strategy will need to depend on the current use of IT by these groups. Identify end-users who can receive “advanced” training to become “super users”. Super-users provide expertise and training to their colleagues during the implementation and beyond.
  3. Pilot the system: go-live with limited functionality and/or in a limited number of wards/speciality areas initially and iron out any problems. Piloting the system can be done as part of a ‘pre-implementation dress rehearsal’ or as part of the first phase of the roll-out.
  4. Spend sufficient time mapping existing and future work processes. It is important to remember that informal local practices may differ from policy and that plans need to be grounded in these practices.
  5. Engage users including pharmacists, doctors and nurses, manage their expectations and tell them what the system can and can’t do. For example, be explicit that systems may slow down their work.
  6. Make time for technical considerations including: system configuration, data migration plans, back-up arrangements, testing of software (user acceptance testing) and checking hardware (for example client response times, server configuration, wireless infrastructure, etc.). Additional information technology requirements may need to be put in place to allow the system to operate efficiently and effectively. These include infrastructures, interfaces with existing systems (including paper-based processes), as well as necessary software and hardware, such as portable devices.
  7. During pre-implementation, ensure that deliverables are met, whilst maintaining a certain degree of flexibility in strategy and planning.
NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research, Principal Investigator: Professor Aziz Sheikh
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