In Brief: Part one of this series reviewed the steps leading up to a pilot program go-live. In this post, we will review ongoing pilot management after go-live and planning for the future.
Ongoing Pilot Management
A pilot team’s challenge shifts from pilot planning to ongoing monitoring and adjustment after the initial go-live date.
- Ongoing Monitoring: The pilot should be monitored extensively after go-live. This includes soliciting feedback from frontline providers and stakeholders. Pilot leaders should expect an influx of feedback immediately after go-live that should gradually wind down as operational changes associated with the pilot become more routine.
- Work Flow Adjustment: Despite extensive simulation, it is not uncommon for a pilot to require minor work flow adjustments after go-live. Steering committees and work groups are uniquely positioned to manage and approve these work flow adjustments as well as oversee communication streams to frontline employees.
Data Management: Measuring Success
The challenge presented by operating data does not end with the selection of pilot metrics. Rather, the monitoring and distribution of data are crucial throughout the pilot.
- Monitoring Key Metrics: Operational data should continue to be observed closely throughout the pilot. Unexpected changes in metrics could be indicative of operational or process barriers that require adjustment.
- Transparency: Providing timely and frequent updates on pilot metrics to all stakeholders helps to generate buy-in and goodwill. Data should continue to be distributed even if the pilot is not progressing as well as expected. End users are invaluable in helping to tell the story of the data via their feedback.
Pilot Evaluation and Planning for the Future
Once a pilot has reached an operational steady state, leadership can begin to plan for the future.
- Evaluating Outcomes: In evaluating the success of a pilot, organizers should ask themselves the questions below.
- Did the pilot lead to improvements in clinical or operating metrics?
- Did the pilot bring about operational efficiencies?
- Will the organizational culture support an expanded pilot?
- What other lessons were learned?
Once leadership has answers to the questions above, future planning can begin.
- Scalability: If the pilot was determined to be successful, leadership can begin to explore opportunities related to pilot expansion across the organization or the business unit. This is the appropriate time to approach practices or programs that are operational outliers.
- Ending a Pilot: Despite the best efforts, some pilot programs will inevitably fail. In the event of an unsuccessful pilot, leadership should not compound a relatively small mistake by scaling up an unsuccessful pilot.
A pilot go-live indicates that an organization is ready to effect meaningful operational change. Understanding the need for ongoing management, data collection, and evaluation helps to drive pilot efforts forward as leaders consider whether to scale up the pilot.