Matthew Gramlich of Mental Health Counseling Services on adopting a new software solution
How smoothly a software implementation goes in a private behavioral health practice depends on a great many things. The process will likely demand extra time out of clinicians and staff for training and familiarization, in addition to the possibility of extra tasks required of everyone during the transition. Without a regimented plan and a dedicated staff, the timeline can very easily spin out of scope and result in frustration.
A unique problem
Matthew Gramlich, manager of Mental Health Counseling Services in Minneapolis, had gone through the steps before. He knew the challenges that he and his practice would face during the transitory period between outgoing and incoming software solutions; however, this time, there was an added layer of difficulty in having to observe an abbreviated timeline.
“With our previous EHR vendor, we were billed quarterly,” Gramlich explained. “[Implementing Valant by] March 1st would give us time to continue using the software within the transition as well as not have to pay for two systems simultaneously, which would have been too much for us.”
Maria Handewith, implementation manager at Valant, facilitated the transition for Gramlich’s practice. Handewith believed the abridged timeline was possible, but stressed the importance of meeting critical milestones on time. She laid out an aggressive schedule for Gramlich and his team. Said Gramlich, “I would say that Maria was very clear about Valant’s typical implementation procedure, so she was really cool about saying that this is how we typically do it and very open that it was not going to be easy. So the expectations were very clearly established in that first call, which I think was very helpful.”
Previous implementation efforts with other software solutions brought their own share of challenges. Due to the hierarchy of support structures Gramlich’s team often worked with, questions had to be submitted through appropriate channels, and according to Gramlich, “We had to navigate through so much just to get an answer.” Several of Gramlich’s providers found so much difficulty using the old software that their workflows actually ended up taking longer than if they had used paper records.
By contrast, working with Valant was pleasantly simple. With Handewith serving as Gramlich’s single point of contact, information and concerns could be exchanged unimpeded. She stayed close to the process, and ensured key customer champions (task experts in respect to their specific roles in the practice) were confident in using the software by the projected go-live date.
“She was able to just point us in the right direction so that made it a lot faster,” Gramlich recalled. “Just a single person, a single number to call, and it was very clear that that’s what she was there for […]—to get us confident.”
This personable approach to training, in addition to the availability of online resources and a comprehensive knowledge base, helped Gramlich make his intended go-live timeline; but more importantly, the team had grown familiar with the product past the point of simply treading water. Questions that used to sound like, how does this work?, evolved to, how can the EHR be used to accomplish this particular task?
For most, the implementation process is a headache that must be endured. With the help of Valant, Gramlich was not only able to expedite the process; he and his team were able to gain additional insights as to how the software could be used as leverage to improve practice workflows.
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