Getting through a go-live

Have you survived a HIT go-live?  Just like “this one time, at band camp,” several of us have “this one time, at a go-live” stories to share.

Entire system go-lives, upgrades, even small optimizations can be considered a go-live. This is the time when you find out if all the testing really helped and if the end users truly absorbed the training.


Though go-lives can be a true test of stamina, here are some tips to best tackle the big event:

1)      Has anyone else gone through a similar go-live?  Schedule calls with other vendor clients to go over lessons learned from their go-live.

2)      Know your schedule long in advance to prepare for the longer workdays.  Your family will be without you.

3)      Get plenty of sleep!  It can be difficult to change your sleep patterns, but you need to be alert.

4)      Don’t eat the junk food in the command center.  If food is being provided, have everyone ask for healthy alternatives to cookies and doughnuts.

5)      Document everything.  Make sure you keep good notes on any build done for the go-live.  You or a co-worker may have to undo something if it causes a problem.

6)      Be invisible when not needed and working on tickets.  The command center can get crowded and out of control at times. You want the end users who stop by to see that everything is in control, so they’ll feel comfortable.  They’ve been given a new system or a change to the system to get accustomed to and take care of patients at the same time.  Knowing their support is in control will help them more than you know.

7)      If a quick fix to an issue isn’t available, try to come up with a workaround until a permanent fix can be completed.  End users on all shifts will need to be kept up to date with workarounds and any fixes.

8)      If you’re very lucky and get caught up, ask if anyone can use your help.  You would appreciate the help, right?

9)      Be sure to thank all of your teammates!  Everyone who has supported you through the go-live would be considered your parachute packers.

10)   Once the go-live is complete and everything is working perfectly, offer your lessons learned to other vendor clients to go full circle.

Please share your best go-live stories.  What could have been done differently?  What are your suggestions for your next go-live.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.


Disasters or not, HIE connectivity is critical

This week the Northeast saw one of the most devastating storms in its history it ever has as Hurricane Sandy touched every state in the region in one way or another.  Easily accessible health information is crucial for the care of a patient at any time, but this is especially true when disasters like Hurricane Sandy strike.

With Hurricane Sandy, we saw multiple health emergencies: courageous rescues, patient transfers, life threatening situations, and more.  The most potent example was when regular and backup power failed at NYU Langone Medical Center. As a result, two hundred patients were taken by ambulances to other facilities in the area to be treated.

Rescue workers evacuated NYU Langone Medical Center after power failure. Photo/John Minchillo/AP

Although the people directly in the path were affected enormously, individuals from across the country also felt Sandy’s impact. On a country-wide scale, we saw over 20,028 flight cancellations, according to USA Today. Folks that lived in the Northeast couldn’t get home, and others that were visiting the area couldn’t return to their homes.  This left thousands of travelers grounded and in unfamiliar territory throughout the country.

On Wednesday, Mike Miliard, Managing Editor for Healthcare IT News, published an article from his conversation with David Whitlinger, executive director of New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), which oversees the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).  Within the article, the two discuss the importance of New York’s HIE network and its critical role for the community and even its trapped visitors during the disaster.   See the article here.

Whitlinger states, “ ‘This health information exchange network really can and should be seen as a public utility, for the public good. And this is another example of how it can be as critical as having roads, as having fire hydrants, as having an electricity backbone.’ ” This statement is an example of how important HIEs are to the people and patients within their communities.  Just as communities in the country have evolved to depend on cars, roads, and electricity in our everyday lives, it is time for our healthcare to evolve from paper records to information exchanges.  Once this evolution occurs, it will be ingrained in our daily lives as much as the cars and electricity we’ve grown to become so fond of.

New York City area is doing a great job with 78% of hospitals connected to the state HIE, according to Brian T. Horowitz on  On a grander scale, the country is not at the same percentage of connectedness (Can we provide this solid number?).  The occurrence of the 20,028 cancelled flights throughout the country is an example of how a National HIE network could improve the continuity of care for patients across the nation.  By connecting all facilities, we could enable physicians to close the knowledge gap of seeing a patient they normally do not see.  Duplicate tests and measures would be eliminated from the care process, and that time can be used better to target the right treatment and improve results on an individual level, as well as cost savings to care providers and patients.

The initiative of a national HIE network is not easy, but organizations like the SHIN-NY, and many others throughout the country are on the right path to helping the nation connect.  The future of exchanging healthcare information keeps getting brighter, and as a patient, it sounds great to me. Come rain or shine, from notifying loved ones of a patient’s status after a disaster to monitoring an expecting mother’s medical progress, HIE is vital in all of our lives.

Until next time,


Stories referenced in this post: Healthcare IT NewsEweek.comUSA Today

A first-time attendee recaps the 20th annual CHIME CIO Forum


From October 16- 19, the 20th Fall CIO Forum for the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) was held in Palm Springs, CA.  It was my first event with CHIME, and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it.  The events, speakers, education, facilities and people were great.  My hat is off to the CHIME folks who did a wonderful job.  Happy 20 years!  I’ve recapped my week below:

The conference began with a very rewarding experience.  Our group attended a local food bank where we helped box over seven thousand pounds of food for the local community.  Other attendees participated in the annual golf outing and/or a Living Desert tour which showcased the local wildlife.

We were eager to do our part to aid the local community.
Legendary journalist Ted Koppel share stories from his news career.

After the opening reception Tuesday night, Wednesday brought an energetic welcome from Board Chair Drex DeFord, FCHIME, CHCIO.  Following the welcome was a keynote address from the legendary journalist and anchorman Ted Koppel.  He told stories of travelling with the many presidents whom he has followed abroad and domestically.  Koppel also shared some of his thoughts on press in the country today, commenting that journalists are sometimes trapped into giving the news that we want instead of giving the news that we need. Just from hearing his experiences through his stories, I can’t imagine what he has seen and heard firsthand over the years.

Dr. Mostashari called audience members heroes for leading the healthcare IT revolution.

Wednesday continued to be full of energy when National Health IT Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD took the stage in late afternoon.  Dr. Mostashari energized the crowd as he shared personal stories and commented about using meaningful use as a tool.  According to Dr. Mostashari, by using meaningful use as a tool, we can help improve three main things: population health, sharing of information through HIEs and increasing patient engagement.  Dr. Mostashari called the audience heroes for leading this great revolution in healthcare IT, and I could not agree more.  All members of CHIME are at the forefront of these important changes in the U.S.

Education was a cornerstone of CHIME with rewarding breakout sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.   experiences and industry knowledge were shared by CHIME members in their respective Track sessions.   I truly believe hearing from real life experiences is the best education, and the sessions did not disappoint.  Although I couldn’t see all the sessions, one session that was very helpful for me was “Meaningful Use Stage 2 – Delayed, but Not to Be Forgotten.”  Speakers were Pam McNutt FCHIME, SVP & CIO of Methodist Health System; Chuck Christian FCHIME CHCIO, CIO, Good Samaritan Hospital; Bill Spooner FCHIME, SVP & CIO, Sharp Healthcare.  Their expertise in Stage 2 objectives/requirements helped me wrapped my head around it more.  It was a beneficial precursor to the afternoon’s Plenary Session with Travis Broome from CMS and Steve Posnack from the ONC.  Broome and Posnack took questions directly from the audience.  Some questions were tough, while others were fun, like How many stages will there be?

Dr. Topol gave a glance into the future of mobile technology.

Thursday’s keynote speaker was Eric Topol, MD.  Dr. Topol, a wireless medicine and genomics innovator who has been a huge proponent of mobile devices to improve patient care, highlighted some revolutionary mobile devices and gave a sneak peek into what is to come with mobile technology and patient care in the future.  He also spoke about genomics, the study of genomes within people and/or organisms, and how it will help save lives by zoning in on specific patients’ information.  Overall, I walked away with a solid sense of how the powerful new devices and research in genomics will help everyone be able revolutionize medicine at a more individual level. Savage, star on the television series Mythbusters, finished CHIME off with the closing keynote on Friday morning.  He spoke about how he came to be where he is today through exploring the unknown.  His skepticism and curiosity have led him down an interesting path.  He urged us to continue our curiosity and skepticism within our field and continue to answer questions that haven’t been answered before.

While CHIME has now been around for an impressive 20 years, this was my first trip to the meeting.  It was an awesome experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet the CHIME members in attendance and our fellow CHIME Foundation members.  I’m looking forward to the next meeting.  Thank you, CHIME and Palm Springs.

I don’t get views like this from Pittsburgh.

See you all next time,

– Mike

The vision behind Stoltenblog from the woman behind Stoltenberg


First of all, let me start by welcoming you to the Stoltenblog. Thank you for taking the time to explore our new venture in social media. As our first of many blog posts to come, I would like to take this opportunity to explain the vision behind both Stoltenberg Consulting and the Stoltenblog.

In 1995, I started Stoltenberg Consulting with over 30 years of experience in the HIT field, striving to uphold the motto to simplify healthcare technology. Since then, Stoltenberg has grown to be a leading healthcare IT consulting firm and Inc. 5000 company, serving over 200 healthcare organizations. With our expert team of IT consultants and years of strategic market insight, we strive to provide clients with new approaches to professional services. While we are truly dedicated to our clients and their individual needs, we also are focused on impacting the HIT industry as a whole. In our recent endeavors like our Junior Consulting Program or ACHIEVE Community Best Practice Model, we’ve demonstrated innovation and willingness to take risks toward building a better future for HIT.

Continuing with our passion to solve tomorrow’s health issues, we’ve started the HIT Stoltenblog. Through the Stoltenblog, we will share the first-hand expertise and opinions of our dedicated Stoltenberg leadership team. Through our weekly blog posts we aim to express our industry thought leadership, and provide mentorship to young HIT professionals, but also shed light onto the driven individuals that are part of the Stoltenberg team.

As you visit our blog, feel free to check out the remainder of the site and links. As our blog grows, we welcome comments, suggestions, and service inquiries from our readers to be sent to Thank you again for joining us on this journey. We cannot wait for the HIT conversation to begin.

-Sheri Stoltenberg, CEO