At TMC, superusers dressed in red shirts for the 30 days after the EMR went live so they were easily identifiable if a physician had questions (TMC has since referred to these experts as "Red Shirts"). "We had multiple tiers of leadership and expertise in the building for at least 30 days," says Warren. After 60 days, Red Shirts were still available on every unit, just in fewer numbers.
It is important that physicians are paired with the same superuser(s) throughout the process of going live, says Fillipo. "I think one of the challenges with EMR is that there is more than one way to do it, and for physicians practicing in a chaotic environment where they are trying to multitask, you can't have four people telling them how to do something four different ways."
Allow physicians additional time to complete their work as they learn the software. For the first several weeks of the launch, TMC extended the time for each procedure to accommodate physicians' learning curves as they navigated the EMR the first few times.
It also added an extra 30 minutes for each transfer (i.e., from pre-op to surgery suite to post-op). "There is a physical handoff of a patient, but there is also an electronic handoff, and if you forgot to do that part because you were new at it or you were taking too long, it could slow the system down," says Warren.
In addition to extending the amount of time physicians had to conduct their procedures and transfer patients, TMC also had physicians in most specialties team up in doubles during their procedures for two weeks. By doubling up, one surgeon could focus on the procedure while the other surgeon could focus on inputting data into the EMR. A Red Shirt superuser was also in the room during all procedures for the first month to help physicians navigate the software.