EHR Resource Planning - Defining Resources
You have just signed a contract to implement an electronic health record (EHR) at your organization. You have selected your vendor and understand that this implementation is a partnership and that the vendor’s team will be there to lead your organization through the process.
In order to start the project, the vendor suggests that you staff your team according to their Roles and Responsibilities (R&R) matrix. Based on the vendor's R&R matrix, you feel that you have most of the staff in-house and will be able to start the project within the next month. This is a common scenario that healthcare organizations encounter in an EHR project. Unless you define the staffing requirements for the implementation as well as long term support, you put the entire process at risk.
This series of articles will discuss how to define your resources for implementation, outline the work for each resource, define project schedules, and present the operational plan for long term support.
Defining the resources that are needed for an Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation can be a challenging task. What types of resources (people) are needed? What are their responsibilities? What are the required skill sets and job descriptions for each resource? Each EHR implementation is unique and therefore the answers to these questions will vary by project. A Resource Assignment Matrix (RAM) is the tool that will assist your organization to assign work (responsibility) to the resources (role) for your project.
You should begin this process by requesting the roles and responsibilities documents and a project plan from your software vendor. This should be completed during the sales phase so that you understand the operational requirements to implement and maintain the system. The documents and project plans you receive will be in different formats. To organize and clearly define the work and resources needed, the RAM is the best tool. Do not assume that your vendor has defined all the work and resources required. The software vendor has expertise implementing the product but not integrating it within your operational infrastructure.
The RAM tool contains tasks down the left hand column and resources across the top row. (See example below.) Start by compiling a list of tasks from the project plan, and populate the left hand column of the spreadsheet. Next, create a list of resource types along the top row. Finally, for each task identify the resource and that person’s role. Keep in mind that one activity may need more than one type of resource.
The next article will focus on using the RAM to define the work or effort for each task and estimating the project schedule.
Example Resource Assignment Matrix