How to Safely Patch or Upgrade Paragon: 4 Best Practices
It is no secret that a McKesson patch can introduce a whole new set of challenges with
its arrival. Many times there can be more “breaks” than “fixes” in a patch or upgrade, but a simple, yet solid plan of action for preparing for an upgrade can pave the road for a much smoother transition. A botched upgrade leads to end user frustration and negatively impacts user adoption.
We have found four simple steps that can significantly improve the upgrade process. These helpful tips apply to McKesson Paragon but can be applied to almost any vendor patch in your environment.
1. Test, Test, Test
A solid test environment is the first requirement for a successful transition to a new patch or upgrade version. Start with a fresh refresh of your LIVE environment, prior to beginning your Work Item Testing. Theoretically, Test should always remain close to your Live environment. This is almost never the case, and a fresh copy of Live is always the safest bet to match Production and prevent any further surprises during upgrades.
Paragon Release Notes tend to be 500 plus pages, and can be overwhelming at best to the untrained Super User. Work Item tests should be divided out methodically, and tracked closely to hold end users accountable for their testing efforts. Make users sign off on their particular areas. Clearly track whether your tests were a Pass/Fail and immediately report issues to the appropriate support structure outlined in your facility.
2. Plan a mini integrated test
Even the best made intentions lead to undesired results. This is definitely the case with a McKesson patch. The Work Item testing is only one facet of an upgrade or patch, but with each upgrade something new and unattended breaks. The easiest way to catch this is by a mini-Integrated test. Pick five test scripts and perfect those for use in every patch. This will make the process smoother each time and it will also catch unintended errors in your system as a result of the patch.
Thoroughly communicate to your entire facility prior to the time of the downtime. Make sure your downtime MAR’s are planned, and the timing of the downtime doesn’t conflict with a nightly closing process. Clinical staff are often short staffed at night, so an extended downtime really throws a monkey wrench in to their nightly operations. Make sure all staff are educated on new processes and workflows that are being enacted by the upgrade. It is also important to remember that these staff often don’t have easy access to email, so make sure multiple forms of communication are in place.
4. Make good use of your extended downtime
Take a close look at your entire network, and plan updates and patches to other systems where possible to utilize the downtime wisely. This is a perfect opportunity to reboot servers, update firmware, and perform network maintenance.
Take these easy steps and apply to your next Paragon upgrade and plan for success. Whitehat is happy to provide either onsite or remote Paragon upgrade support for your organization to make you successful.