How long does it take to implement sleep lab management software?

So, you’ve finally made a decision to put sleep lab software in place for your sleep labs and now you want to know how long the process of implementation will take.

Well, there’s no set answer to this question. There are many variables that play a part in determining just how long each implementation takes.  The key is to manage your expectations through discussions with your chosen software provider.  They will create your timeline based on the following:

  • Sales process
  • PSG compatibility
  • Staff availability
  • Possible integration and development
  • Technical considerations
  • Customization

Sales Process

Every business has a process in place to handle purchases, but how long that process takes depends on the type and size of the business. For example, a privately owned, single lab with four beds of popular PSG equipment, is likely to get a contract in place and implement quickly.  On the other hand, a health system owned, group of labs with mixed PSG systems and need for integration, will take longer, because the amount of due diligence is significant.

A good software company will not only talk with you about the need for software during the sales process, they’ll ask questions about what is needed to make a purchase.  Do you follow a budgeting timeline? Will your IT team need to review and verify technical requirements over many locations? How many demos are needed for your staff, so decision makers can comfortably come to a conclusion?  Are there documents and forms that need to be filled out when making purchases?  These are just a few of the common questions, but the possibilities are much more expansive.

Just remember, implementation doesn’t begin until a contract has been signed…the sales process is a significant factor when determining your timeline.

PSG Compatibility

Fortunately, this particular piece of the implementation is much more cut and dry.  During the sales process you will have discussed the compatibility of the PSG equipment you’re using and the software you’ve purchased. If new equipment needs to be purchased or development done, you may realize a longer implementation.

That being said, if a customer has compatible PSG devices and a standard sleep lab workflow that requires minimal customization, a company like LabRetriever is able to get them up-and-running in about two weeks from the time the contract is signed.

Staff Availability

Getting your staff together for training may seem like a simple thing and for those standalone labs with a handful of employees, it really is.  However, if your a sleep lab management company with 10 different locations in 3 different states, getting everyone organized for training can be difficult.  This is where experienced software companies can help.

Our team at LabRetriever has been coordinating implementations for 15 years.  We’ve done it all from a small two bed lab to hospital networks to large sleep lab management companies. We guide our new customers based on experience to help them create the best possible implementation schedule and agenda for their employees.

If you are one of those businesses that expects a complex implementation and training experience, make sure you include your concerns during the discussions with the sales team.  Ask for their expertise on how to roll out the software and plan a training schedule that best suits your needs.  Should you implement by region? Would it be best to train a core group of your staff and have them do the training as you implement additional areas? (train the trainers).

Most importantly, make sure the software company you choose is respectful of the unique hours some of your employees keep.  The sleep industry doesn’t follow a 9-5 schedule and neither should your training. Careful consideration should be taken to ensure the most convenient schedule for everyone. A typical training schedule for LabRetriever customers follows the flow of the sleep study from scheduling to interpretation and DME ordering.

Integration Work

Getting your sleep lab software to “talk” with other software does require an integration. A few examples are:

  • Interfaces with PSG systems and devices
  • Communication with hospital or customer EMR
  • EHR and billing systems
  • Messages and notifications to email and fax services
  • Connections to customer website

Generally there is a separate, one-time fee associated for this type of service since it involves a great deal of planning and programming.  The process involves a coordinated effort and discussions with the providers of the 3rd party software.  Even if your sleep lab software provider estimates a timeline based on previous experience, it’s always best to manage your own expectations and figure in the possibility of a delay.

Technical Considerations

Sleep lab software is unique in design, workflow and often customized to suit the individual customer’s preferences.  However, it still shares some basic technical requirements that even broader-based software companies recommend for optimal use of their products.

These technical aspects should be addressed during the sales process and include:

  • RAM (memory)
  • CPU (processor)
  • HD space (storage space)
  • Internet bandwidth
  • Network traffic/File operation blocked by security software/hardware
  • The ability to read/write/install software on a PC
  • Version of software/operating system installed on the PC

Of course many of the recommendations will be guidelines, but you want to make sure that your business has at least the minimum for each in order to have the software work without issue.

Customization

This item is of real importance depending on what you’re expecting from your software.  This can range from the simple addition of data fields to advanced workflow specific to your business. LabRetriever customers automatically receive several hours of customization as part of their implementation, but the customization process can last for a month or more until the customer has exactly what they want.  Yes, it may cost more to create a more detailed customized solution, but our team doesn’t believe in cutting corners when it comes to our product and customer satisfaction.

If you’re looking at purchasing sleep lab software, take some time to make a list of what you expect.  It’s a good idea to meet with your entire team including your IT department to come up with requirements and questions.  The more you know, the more confident you’ll be in make a decision and implementing the software in the expected time frame.

 

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