In today’s healthcare industry, patient outcomes and healthcare system success rely largely on analytics, and selecting the right technology for your organization can make all the difference. However, one often overlooked consideration when selecting a technology vendor is the implementation process. An ideal implementation is one with open communication, efficient processes and rapid time-to-value.
In our experience at Sentry, having completed more than 9,000 implementations in 47 states in the past 16 years, there are two main elements that ensure an efficient process that will get the partnership started on the right foot: customer engagement and thorough communication and training.
We’ve learned over the years that it’s very important for customers to be equal, active participants in the implementation process. The first part of customer engagement is a champion within the healthcare organization who really understands their data — someone with a strategic perspective. Combining that internal champion with a Sentry expert who knows how to make the technology meet those specific needs results in a strong partnership that makes for a faster, smoother installation.
The second element of successful customer engagement is having someone on the customer side who knows how to locate and provide the right data to input into the system — someone with a tactical perspective — who may be the same person as the strategic champion mentioned above, depending upon the size of the organization. This tactical role in the process is just as important as the strategic role; the lengthiest part of implementation by far is acquiring the raw data, so when we have direct access to a customer resource who knows exactly how to provide the right information from the beginning, the time to go-live tends to be significantly reduced.
The third part in which customer engagement is essential is in timely response to inquiries. During implementation, questions inevitably arise, and having a dedicated resource team on board to answer those questions quickly and accurately generally will reduce implementation time by weeks. At Sentry, we pride ourselves on making sure the data we input into our system meets the highest standards of quality, integrity and precision, so we request a sign-off from both partners; the more quickly we can work together as a team to get questions answered, the more quickly that sign-off can take place.
Thorough communication and training
Training on Sentry software and guidance along the way begins long before go-live. At the start of implementation, the customer is assigned a dedicated Sentry project manager, as well as a technical resource. Multiple other team members are on-hand to answer any questions the customer may have at any point in the implementation process or to reach out to additional experts on the team as needed. In this way, we always have someone ready to guide our customers, from beginning to end.
Our training specialists come from hospital and training backgrounds and are highly experienced product users. They understand the product from the customers’ point of view and will guide you through the complexities of product knowledge and facilitating your learning. Our comprehensive training plans offer up to 20 product instruction areas and can include information on everything from mapping to configurations. A typical implementation involves 11 hours of one-on-one instruction with our customers.
To keep knowledge at our customers’ fingertips, our 340B software includes an interactive training tool called Atlas that’s built right into the software applications, thus eliminating the need to leave the platform to go to separate tutorials or electronic learning systems.
Additionally, we have several avenues of ongoing, open communication with our customers all along the way: “New & Noteworthy” newsletters outlining the latest industry developments and product enhancements, monthly “340Buzz” blog posts that recap the latest in legislative, administrative and judicial updates to the 340B program, on-demand webinars that delve into select features of our technology platform, live user group programs and more. These features are our way of making sure our customers know that our guidance—and our partnership—continues long after go-live.
It takes a village
Sentry has developed this partnership-focused approach to implementation based on years of experience and on direct customer feedback. As true partners, we listen to customers’ needs and take action across all departments and interactions, ensuring the relationship is a win-win.
As a result, over the past year, we’ve streamlined a number of tasks to reduce our project implementation time for both Sentinel and Sentrex setups by 42%. In addition, we’ve developed a more efficient implementation process for our Sentrex contract pharmacy add-ons, which, when implementation began within six weeks of the OPA registration date, resulted in 100% of pharmacies going live within two weeks of the OPA effective date and 0% loss of potential eligibility.
These results highlight what Sentry and our customers can achieve together when we form a true, interactive partnership. This philosophy ensures that our implementation process is just one of the many ways in which Sentry customers can expect more.