Project Management 101: 5 Things You Should Never Neglect for a Successful RIS/PACS Deployment

Now that you’ve gone through the arduous task of selecting a new RIS and/or PACS to improve patient care, optimize workflow, and increase productivity, you’ll want to know how you can gain your biggest return on investment during your deployment. Although your sales representative went over your facility’s installation services, workflow, and needs, it’s essential to communicate everything to your vendor’s project manager (PM) as they will play a huge part in the success of your deployment. Just as your vendor offers a PM, your site should also designate an in-house PM as the point of contact for your site. Believe it or not, but selecting a new RIS and/or PACS was the easy part, the deployment is the hard part. You and your site are going to have to work just as hard to build your dream workflow as your new system vendor to execute a perfect deployment. With that said, below are five things you should never overlook for a successful RIS/PACS deployment.

1. Communication

When going through a new PACS and/or RIS deployment, communication is as essential as the water we drink and the air we breathe. This is why designating an in-house PM is mandatory. Your in-house PM and your vendor’s PM will coordinate timelines, teams, and the project as a whole, eliminating the need for multiple people on weekly project calls and reducing call times. Your PMs should be the only ones needed on each call, unless a specialist is needed to address certain items. Having two people coordinate the deployment will streamline the project and accelerate the go-live date.


2. Radiology Workflow Analysis

Having your vendor’s PM on-site to develop a detailed radiology workflow analysis is essential to their understanding of your facility’s needs. Workflow is extremely difficult to document over the phone. In fact, an accurate analysis is impossible to complete until your vendor’s PM is standing in your facility, witnessing all of the tasks each person does on a daily basis. RIS and PACS providers are workflow experts. We have experience in hundreds of different workflow scenarios and are experts in industry best practices most sites have never even considered. Your vendor’s PM will help optimize workflow and increase efficiency, so your staff can focus on patient care. When staff members are less stressed because their workflow is streamlined and efficient they can give so much more to your patients.


3. Timely Responses and Meeting Deadlines

RIS and PACS providers understand that you purchased a new system because your old one wasn’t meeting your needs, you’re inundated with work from your previous RIS and/or PACS’s lack of performance, and you still have all of your current job functions to attend to, while deploying a new software. This means, overtime is likely going to be necessary. If you can’t put in those extra hours, you’ll experience delays, unless it’s budgeted into the project timeline from the start. This is why it’s important to effectively communicate with your vendor’s PM and ensure that your key players understand that communication, timely responses, and meeting deadlines are almost as important as your patients. If your vendor’s PM doesn’t know what’s going on with you and the project on your side, then they can’t step in and help where necessary. When you review the Statement of Work (SOW) with your vendor’s PM, be honest and set realistic goals that you know you and your staff can meet. The SOW is the project roadmap. It clearly lays out purchases, tasks, deadlines, your new workflow, and the project teams. Try your best to designate an hour or two a day to the deployment and replying to requests from your vendor’s PM. You may even need to schedule daily team meetings with your site’s key players for progress updates on their assigned duties.


4. Take Notes, Set Reminders and Stay Organized

While your vendor’s PM will send out weekly meeting agendas and call notes, your in-house PM should take notes and cross-check their notes against the vendor PM’s notes. Your vendor’s PM is probably deploying a minimum of five customers at a time and there’s nothing wrong with keeping tabs on them. We’re all humans here, mistakes can happen and everyone should be accountable for getting your deployment right. Take notes on your weekly calls and internal team meetings. Ask questions if something isn’t clear. If someone misses a deadline, note why so you can allocate more time to their other assigned tasks during the deployment. Setting reminders and staying organized will decrease your workload and increase efficiency. Keep the SOW handy and use it as a checklist to check-off items as you go. Not only will this help you stay on top of the project as a whole, but it’ll also help you stay positive as you see how much work you and your team have accomplished.


5. Applications and Clinical Training

You’ll never achieve your full return on investment, increase productivity, and optimize patient care and workflow with your new RIS/PACS purchase without training. Investing in time to train your staff on key functions in each role will make things a lot easier for everyone in your organization. Applications can even show your marketers how to train referrers with online portals that may come with your new RIS and/or PACS purchase, thus reducing calls from referrers for reports and CDs, and freeing up your phone lines and your staff for patient calls. Training enables your team to unleash the full power of your RIS and/or PACS purchase.


The keys to a successful RIS/PACS deployment are in your hands. It’s shocking to most sites that they need a designated, in-house PM that has to work as hard as the vendor’s PM in order to achieve a successful deployment; but without a designated PM, customer cooperation, communication, and time, the new RIS and/or PACS vendor can’t deliver what you need.

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