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Navigating the Transition to New Clinical Systems in Primary Care

The landscape of clinical systems within primary care is evolving with a number of providers in the GP clinical system market. An increasing number of commissioners, PCNs and GP practices are expressing interest in migrating to new clinical systems. However, the transition is fraught with complexities and risks, necessitating a careful, strategic approach.

Here is a guide to the top 10 things to consider as part of a clinical system change programme.

1) Understand the strategic need for change

Begin by emphasising the importance of recognising the limitations of current systems and the benefits of new technologies. Just because something is shiny and new does not mean it’s an improvement. Highlight how advancements can lead to improved patient care, streamlined operations, and enhanced data security. Acknowledging the challenges upfront can prepare stakeholders for the journey ahead.

2) Undertake a comprehensive needs assessment

Start with a thorough evaluation of your current system’s capabilities versus the needs and goals of your practice. This step is crucial for identifying the features and improvements you require from a new system. Consider any third parties products or add on that are currently used as part of this analysis.

3 Undertake detailed stakeholder engagement

Ensure the involvement of all relevant stakeholders including clinicians, admin and IT staff, and patient groups from the outset. Their point of view input can provide valuable insights into the selection of a new system and foster a sense of ownership and buy-in.

4) Conduct extensive research to understand the options available.

If required, commission experts in this field with a detailed knowledge of the market to assist with this. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Look for systems that not only meet your current needs but also offer scalability and flexibility for future requirements. Make sure to also consider the functionality of the third party products you use in combination with your current clinical system – if you still need the functionality of these products, will the new system interoperate with them?  Look at this through a long term lens.

5) Plan your procurement properly.

Develop a clear procurement strategy that includes criteria for vendor evaluation, budget considerations, and compliance with regulatory standards. This process should be transparent and competitive to ensure the best value and fit for your practice. If you need external help with this then seek it. Better to do the job thoroughly than try and muddle through with an existing depleted team.

6) Create a detailed project plan that outlines the transition process, timelines, roles, and responsibilities.

Consider engaging change specialists like Redmoor Health to navigate this complex process. Our expertise in change management, system implementation, and training can be invaluable.

7) Plan for a meticulous data migration process.

This includes ensuring data integrity, security, and continuity of care during the transition. Expert advice and solutions for data migration can mitigate risks of data loss or corruption.  This can include a period of downtime/manual data entry so important to understand exactly will is expected in terms of timescales.

8) Invest in comprehensive training for all users to ensure a smooth adoption of the new system.

The NHS has a history of purchasing new products that never fulfill their potential because not enough time has been spent on training the workforce in how to maximise the impact of the purchase. Continuous support post-implementation is crucial to address any issues and to facilitate ongoing user education.

9) Establish mechanisms for ongoing evaluation of the new system’s performance and user feedback.

This will help in making necessary adjustments and improvements.

10) Ensure communications is planned and agreed from the outset.

This needs to include clear messages on why you are making the change and how the change will improve patient care.

The process for implementing such a change can be a scary one but if delivered properly can future proof the organisation so it can deliver high quality patient care in an ever changing market.

At Redmoor Health we have a team with a wealth of experience of planning and implementing clinical systems. From initial planning and stakeholder engagement to procurement, implementation, and post-go-live support, Redmoor Health offers expertise across all stages of the transition process and can be a valuable partner through this process.

If you want to know more about how we can help drop us an email at or visit our Procurement Support Solutions page.

Blog by Marc Schmid, Tracey Coulter and Chris Tomlinson

Marc Schmid
Tracey Coulter
Chris Tomlinson

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