Virtual implementation enables Harpenden practice to switch to EMIS Web in the midst of the pandemic

Making the decision to switch your IT systems supplier always comes with some trepidation. But for The Elms Medical Practice in Harpenden, their switch to EMIS Web had the added pressure of the COVID-19 outbreak, along with the first national UK lockdown. We spoke to Practice Manager Sarah Brindley about how our training and implementation teams went above and beyond to support her practice throughout their transition.

“It’s one of the biggest things you do in the practice as far as a massive change, and it was one of the smoothest moves I’ve ever experienced.”

Sarah Brindley, Practice Manager, The Elms

A virtual transition

Sarah and the team at The Elms made the decision in early 2020 to move to EMIS, allowing them to align systems with their wider PCN and enabling more joined up, collaborative working. It was vital to the team to ensure their transition was not only seamless, but safe. With the nation in lockdown, our teams worked to ensure all training and implementation could be delivered remotely, reducing the risk of exposure for everyone involved.

“People were very, very nervous at that point. So the virtual solution worked really well - it felt safe.”

Sarah Brindley, Practice Manager, The Elms

From initial contact in early April 2020, there followed an eight week period of preparation and training before the practice went live. Sarah felt strongly that two key factors from the practice end were significant in enabling success: getting the entire team onboard and excited for the move, and managing all the pre-work in preparation for the transition.

“The pre-work is essential. If you follow your guidance every step of the way, the moving over itself is simple.”

Sarah Brindley, Practice Manager, The Elms

Preparation is key

Sarah advocated for practices to start early and stay on top of their tasks, dedicating if possible a project lead to manage the process. In doing so, she felt her team had ‘done the hard work’ before go live, allowing them the time and space to adjust and focus on training. This was recognised too by EMIS Lead Trainer, Nisha Patel, who added “I found Sarah and the practice really, really prepared – and preparation truly is key”. With system demonstrations beforehand, and support and training throughout, The Elms team were elated when go-live day came around, and before long the staff had adjusted to the new system with ease.

“The team we had regarding training was just exceptional. I felt like people cared.”

Sarah Brindley, Practice Manager, The Elms

This collaborative effort between the practice and the EMIS team was a recipe for success. Now a year on, The Elms team are enjoying the user friendly EMIS Web interface which they describe as ‘easy on the eye’, and are confident that they made the right choice in moving systems supplier. Aligning with their wider PCN has made it easy for the team to share advice, reports and help documents across their locality, and they’ve even joined a community EMIS Whatsapp group to share best practice.

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