Loretta Gallagher On Setting Up and Running an EMR Command Center

Loretta Gallagher is the owner of a professional EMR company named Gallagher Associates in Wayne, New Jersey. Loretta and her team help hospitals and corporations smoothly transition and implement new IT systems, and aid in the overall professionality of training and development within a team. Gallagher says that your command center is where you will keep the pulse of your implementation at go-live; it will be the hub for communication between leadership, application teams, infrastructure, operational leadership, vendors and end-users during your go-live. Command centers are often stocked with equipment and staff; they are busy and a huge producer of work. Staffing your command center properly and ensuring everyone has enough space to work effectively should be top of mind. Identifying top impact issues and collaboratively working with teams to solve these problems is instrumental to success and stabilization of the project.

Command centers run 24/7, as the hospital runs 24/7. Staffing the command center properly will be a challenge says Loretta Gallagher. Your staff does not grow, and you now need to man the center at all times. Some small teams will struggle with this concept. Although through the night is traditionally a quieter time for the influx of issue tickets, these hours are also a golden opportunity to fix and close tickets while the phones are not ringing and meeting and “huddles” are at a minimum.

Loretta Gallagher — your command center is where you will keep the pulse of your implementation at go-live.

Gallagher and her team at Gallagher Associates suggest to plan on a 10 to 14-day, 24/7 operation at a minimum. You will likely still be running your command center in week three, however all major issues should have been identified at this point. Scaling back to a 16-hour coverage day is not unheard of. Although staff may no longer need to man the command center 24/7, teams will need to be on-call if a bigger issue presents itself. Socializing the concept of on-call as early as possible with staff is highly recommended. By the time you reach this phase, staff is already exhausted and does not need to be surprised with additional workload.

Depending on the size of your go-live, you may have more than one command center. Loretta Gallagher has successfully seen end-user support command centers and the traditional break/fix command center work very well together. Your end-user support center can help with issues such as, “I do not remember where to find this,” or, “I think I saw this in training but cannot remember.” where your break fix command center can help with, “I am trying to click a button but it does not launch or do anything.” This last option requires someone to go in and fix the system, and should be logged as a ticket. The items where someone forgot training items or cannot find something can be solved via first-call resolution and need not be a ticket. Ensuring that your build team does not get bogged down with “how to” tickets and can work on the true breaks/fixes will help to speed up stabilization. Using your training staff to answer the “how to” items is an excellent use of their talents during go-live.

Loretta Gallagher and her team at Gallagher Associates are equipped with the most professional advice to help you and your company begin setting up a successful command center.