Deploying Projects Remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic

How have projects changed?

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen healthcare organisations under intense pressures. Initially this meant that their focus had to rapidly pivot to the care of an influx of very ill people, while protecting staff and other patients. This vital switch often meant that other projects and initiatives had to be put on the back burner for a while.

A year into the pandemic with a wealth of learning on how to better care for ICU patients and vaccination programmes kicking in, healthcare organisations are returning to key projects that will not only improve ‘business as usual’ work but also positively impact the care of COVID patients. But how has the pandemic changed the way such projects must be deployed to be successful?

At Imprivata we have years of experience in implementing projects. We help large numbers of clinicians and frontline staff working within healthcare organisations to increase efficiency by bringing down the barriers to technology, giving them more time to devote to patients. Many of our team have also worked in healthcare before joining us so view projects from an insider’s perspective.

Pre-COVID-19 a typical implementation project would start off with online kick-off sessions before rapidly moving to onsite technical set up, piloting and testing, then the face-to face onboarding and training of large numbers of clinicians. Of course, everything has changed and we’ve learned a lot during the last 12 months about how project rollouts can still be highly successful even when every step has to be done remotely.

New ways to deliver success

Typically today’s projects still begin with initiation and planning sessions done online via Webex or Zoom, but these tools have now also become the norm for delivering the technical build work and the enrolment of large numbers of clinicians across an organisation. Pre-pandemic our technical and rollout teams would be onsite for pre scheduled blocks of days at a time where we would often need to create more flexibility in scheduling sessions to respond to the workloads and shift patterns of the clinicians. Ad-hoc questions, follow-ups and clinician onboarding to the systems were all handled in the majority face-to-face.

In the new normal we’ve found the key to success is planning, planning and then more planning – not only at the project level as always – but now down to the detailed planning of each individual remote session. We itemise what needs to achieved each day and within each session; what the outcomes will be; the preparatory work required before each virtual session; who needs to attend for the meeting to be successful; and if other people or teams need to be on standby to answer questions that could emerge.

Evolving the ways we interact and engage

The need to work remotely has also changed the way we interact. Virtual sessions must be structured to keep engagement levels high as it’s easier for people to be distracted and everyone needs to be aware of what has to be achieved. At several organisations we’ve collaborated with them to create ‘mobile training stations’ to enroll and train clinicians in the use of the new solutions being implemented. These feature computers on wheels with webcams and devices, so that clinicians can interact with our team virtually as they are enrolled and shown the new ways to access their systems.

The mobile stations can be moved to where clinicians are working, to classrooms or even staff rooms. Onboarding can be done one-to-one or to groups typically of 10-15 clinicians. We are also creating training and refresher videos so that no one misses out or is left behind.

Imprivata rollouts have often included pilot projects where a specific team or department is chosen for the initial deployment. The switch to remote implementations can make this step event more important. Project buy-in is often secured by first onboarding a key team or individuals who then act as ambassadors and influencers, spreading the buzz about the project to colleagues.

The ‘white glove’ service

The pandemic has also seen us develop our existing ‘white glove’ enrollment service offering an even deeper level of project support for very large organisations – some deploying to as many as 5,000 clinicians. This can now be delivered fully remotely, helping to take further pressure off their own staff. Imprivata Deployment Specialists will enroll all staff into the OneSign solution including proximity badge, secure 2-factor and self-service password reset enrolment, and demonstration of Single Sign-on application enrolment. This service helps customers achieve rapid high user adoption across the organisation.