Whilst its undeniably exciting to get into the pre-implementation part of the process and see all your hard work start coming to fruition, it is important not to get complacent here. In many ways, it’s one of the most difficult phases. Make sure to invest plenty of time in the pre-implementation phase as this can help to prevent problems from occurring at later stages.  Here are some key steps to consider to support you in developing a clear pre-implementation strategy

The team you need

All in. From IT Managers to Pharmacists, everyone has a role at pre-implementation. 

What to do

  • Creating your Project Implementation Strategy

    When creating your strategy, you need to ask yourself a few key questions:

    • How effective is your roll-out plan?
    • What are your options for contingency plans?
    • Have you developed an effective escalation plan when thinking about your downtime strategy?
    • Have you developed a downtime strategy?
    • Is your governance structure right?
    • Who needs to be involved in your steering group/ change boards?
  • Designing your workflow

    • Identify key clinical people to involve
    • Examine your current workflows. This also means spending 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.
    • Engage users. You need everyone’s buy-in and understanding of the product you have procured.  This includes pharmacists, doctors and nurses. This isn’t just about telling them the positive changes the system will bring, but also the less positive, such as the possibility that systems may slow down their work. To manage expectations, you need to be just as clear about the system limitations as its capabilities.
    • Pilot the system. Go-live initially with limited functionality and/or in a limited number of wards/speciality areas and iron out any problems on this smaller scale. 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
  • Training

    • Identify “super users”. These are end-users who can receive “advanced” training with a view to them being able to provide expertise and training to their colleagues during the implementation phase and beyond.
    • Undertake a training needs analysis. This should be done for all users (administrative, clinical and technical staff) who will interact with the system. 
  • Configuration and Testing

    • Make time for technical considerations. This includes 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.
  • Reporting

    • Define your reporting practises and mechanisms. Start by considering what metrics are important to measure.Have a look at our Benefits Realisation resource to learn more about the various metrics that are currently being measured.
  • Communications

    • Engage your comms team. Your comms team should be involved from the beginning, so they have all the information to be able to develop an effective communication and engagement strategy for all your audiences; staff, stakeholders and external. From managing expectations to ensuring awareness, to even creating engagement and adherence in staff, your communications strategy is critical to the success of your ePMA project

What to read


The journey begins but the learning does not stop here.

Feel free to ask our network members via NHS Futures on how they have tackled pre-implementation and the steps they have taken to ensure the process runs smoothly.

If you have further learnings to offer, step on up and provide your knowledge via HEXITIME.