7 Tips for a Hassle-Free v11.4.1 Allscripts Upgrade

We’ve entered the second quarter of 2014, which means Allscripts TouchWorks clients are intensely involved with the process of the v11.4.1 upgrade and transitioning to the Meaningful Use Stage 2 compliant version.  As an organization that hosts the TouchWorks application and has consultants on the ground, we have seen the upgrade process first hand. Here are a few things that could help you reduce any difficulties while successfully completing your upgrade.

7 Tips for a Hassle-Free v11.4.1 Allscripts Upgrade

1. Problem mapping and ICD-10 education.

Even with the ICD-10 delay, problem mapping must still be completed, 80% of which is required as part of the Prepare Phase of the upgrade project. During the Engagement Phase, Allscripts will help you with Retired Problems that require remapping. This can be a moving target as the project progresses, and ICD-10 education becomes a key component of this transition

2. Explain your environment to the Upgrade team, more than once if necessary!

This includes hardware, customizations, and any third party integrations. Although the upgrade teams should be asking for this information, ultimately, you are the one who knows the environment best. Due to the high number of moving parts and team hand-offs during the upgrade project, information should be reiterated at every step.

3. Know your workflows.

It is critical to have documented Workflows in place. This upgrade is more self-directed and hands on than previous upgrades. Not only will this help with testing (see #5), it will be an opportunity to consolidate, standardize, and improve workflows that may have gone rogue since implementation.

4. Review applicable known issues.

This can be pretty daunting; however, it is part of the sign-off process to move forward with the Upgrade. Identify someone to become the expert on the Allscropts Known Issues list as reviewing all this information is a large part of the transitional process. They don’t need to know everything by heart, but they should be the first person that issues are routed to so that they can do quick research and eliminate unnecessary testing on go-live day. With that said, only issues impacting your workflows need to be tested. This is best accomplished when your existing workflows are well mapped out as a reference.

5. Testing, testing, and more testing.

Allscripts puts the responsibility for testing the plan on the client. Ideally workflows are documented and ready for testing, needing only to update them with the new version changes. Having a suitable test environment is necessary to facilitate this. We have worked with clients who felt they tested what they could but may not have a fully functional test environment in order to test all things such as interfaces. Most are good at finding bugs, but just how thorough and all-encompassing is the test plan? There is not a ton of time on upgrade projects after things get rolling, so confirming that a good testing plan is in place should be done early on. Another thing to consider is that the test environment for the current version will go away after the Copy of Environment (COE) and test upgrade. You can arrange with Allscripts to have another test environment put in place to continue testing issues on their current version during the upgrade. Be sure to budget for all these environments.

6. Be aware that interface servers may be migrated before or after Go-Live Weekend.

Allscripts standard approach is to migrate to new interface servers either 30 days prior to the upgrade weekend or 10 days after. This is to ensure there are resources dedicated to resolving interface-related issues, which minimizes the overall number of issues to be dealt with during the upgrade weekend. This could mean two different downtime windows. Be aware of the overall game plan, so you can make corrections as needed. This tends to be handled on a case-by-case basis, including completing migration during the upgrade weekend, so be sure to have a conversation about this with your team and see what you’re prepared to take on.

7. MU attestation period for 2014 cannot start until v11.4.1 and the new MU package are fully in place.

You can start working on the MU workflows, but if you are further down the upgrade queue, you will likely have overlapping primary and MU upgrades; you will need to plan resourcing accordingly. If you are just getting started, this may put you in the position of attesting for the last quarter, which doesn’t give much wiggle room. Be vigilant when it comes to your Eligible Providers (EPs) hitting the mark, and nip any non-compliance in the bud.

These are only a few suggestions that might be helpful to your group as you proceed with your upgrade to v11.4.1. Because environments with the EHR vary, there is no one best way to do this and be completely problem free. These suggestions should take away the aches and pains of the upgrade process.