July 2022

4 Considerations that Can Make or Break Your Modular MES Implementation

By Adam Hayden

Post Snapshot: Four Unique Modular MES Considerations 

  • Modular MES Implementation introduces new complexities when preparing audiences for change 
  • Agencies, healthcare organizations, and providers are encouraged to pay close attention to four unique challenges: 
    • Sources of Training Content: Systems training vs a third-party Training vendor 
    • Audience Readiness: Modularity may be perceived as more complex and met with resistance 
    • Timing of Training: Match training plan to go-live schedule 
    • Internal Training Team Capacity: Leverage strengths and provide support 
  • Read on to learn more about these challenges 

Introduction

In Part 1 of this series, “Insights from Medicaid’s First and Only Training Integrator,” we introduced obstacles to effective implementation for Modular Medicaid Enterprise Systems (MES). In this second post, we share our perspective on four key considerations to address now to support your agency, employees, vendors, and care providers. 

Considerations Explained 

While most organizations recognize the importance of Organizational Change Management (OCM) and training when new enterprise systems are installed, modular systems introduce more complexity. They demand a coordinated approach to achieve improved workflows and system performance goals. When modernizing MES systems, specific challenges must be considered. These include: 

  1. Sources of Training Content: Systems training often focuses on features and functions, not business processes and real-life scenarios. 
  2. Audience Readiness: Modularity may seem more complicated to legacy system users and stakeholders. Acknowledging and addressing learner resistance, even fear of the unknown, presents a unique challenge. 
  3. Timing of the Training: Too early, and learners may not retain knowledge and skills; too late, and learners may not be proficient for system launch. 
  4. Internal Training Team Capacity: Internal training teams play a critical role in bridging old and new processes, but they can be stretched to meet the demands of a system implementation. 

1. Sources of Training Content

In the multi-module, multi-vendor modular ecosystem, each vendor brings expertise about its own solution, and so, Medicaid agencies often expect the various system module vendors to deliver training. But a systems-vendor-led learning strategy can compromise the quality of the learning experience for users. Why? Because even the best functional training for a specific module does not effectively address a comprehensive understanding of all modular components working together in an integrated system. 

Training from a technology vendor is primarily focused on system features and functions for a particular system component. Structuring training in this way may not address each user’s interactions with other applications, customizations, or the business process changes that will result from the new modular approach. Both gaps and overlaps can occur for system components that are similar or functionally linked. For example, a claims examiner may access a provider module to research a claims adjudication, and a provider specialist may access the provider module to answer a question about program enrollment. Each of these roles requires similar module access but the business processes are very different.  

Individual vendor training is also unlikely to include OCM activities or recommendations and may not include the necessary long-term coaching, support, remediation, and knowledge management that are hallmarks of effective learning programs. 

2. Audience Readiness

Any technology solution implementation will fail if users are not properly prepared, motivated, and trained to align their work with new business processes. In our earlier post, we said that systems are only as efficient as their users are proficient. Analyzing audience readiness is a crucial step that is often overlooked.  

Some training content may be used by many roles, while other content may only be needed by specialized teams. In addition, roles may not perform the same functions from one location to the next. Ensuring that content is well leveraged across different roles while making sure that each learner gets the right training requires careful needs analysis, thoughtful curriculum design, and development of multiple role-based learning paths.  

In a modular environment, the volume of new information can be overwhelming, leading to feelings of discomfort, fear, and resistance. To enable different behaviors and motivate the desire to learn, we must recognize, appeal to, and influence learner emotions with training programs that are customized for different user groups and focused on exactly what each user role needs—no more and no less.

 

White text on purple background shows linear path that says Excited and Prepared; Take Ownership; Access Help; Enjoy Practice; Show What I Can Do; Ready to Begin
The more emotionally secure a learner is in their learning experience, the more motivated and confident they will be, accelerating time to proficiency

3. Timing of the Training: Agile and Just-in-Time

Training design and development calls for a special consideration of pacing. Modular MES systems can follow a whole-of-system “go-live” or phased approach. Regardless of implementation approach, throughout the design, development, and installation (DDI) stages, system changes are often dictated by a rigorous testing and change request (CR) process. Training that is designed too early in the DDI process may need significant later revision to match updated system changes. An agile approach to training is key, and a third-party Training Integrator works hand-in-hand with a DDI team to ensure training design and system configuration travel together. 

The timing of training delivery requires similar attention to pacing. If offered too soon, knowledge will not be retained. If it is too late, learners may not be proficient at the time of launch. In either case, user performance can suffer, causing potential budget implications and a negative impact on Medicaid beneficiaries. 

4. Internal Training Team Capacity: Developing Partnerships

Internal training teams play a valuable role in connecting the dots between old and new procedures as systems are updated. However, any time a new system is rolled out, internal training resources will be stretched. Modular system implementations are even more difficult for internal training teams to manage on their own due to their complexity and scope. Expanding the team smoothly while maintaining expected training standards requires clear communication, flexibility, and partnership. Short, recurring multi-stakeholder meetings with an internal training team, third-party Training Integrator, DDI partner, and a member of the PMO are a good example of building trust, partnership, and clear communication. 

Conclusion: Define Considerations before Solutions

Modular MES holds exciting potential for more efficient Medicaid management, but these four unique considerations with respect to training and change management must be addressed to ensure a successful implementation. In our next installment, we’ll address each of these considerations with a solutions-oriented mindset, including examples of how common problems may be solved. 

Looking for more? We also contributed to the recent Amazon Web Services white paper, Medicaid Modularity: The Path to Better Outcomes, and we’ll be on hand in Charlotte this August for MESC (Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference). 

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