Technology changes in healthcare, at their core, are aimed at improving the delivery of care to a patient. It hasn’t always felt that way for the care team, but in recent years a focus on better preparing the entire organization for a change, especially physicians and clinicians, has enabled dramatic transformations in how healthcare organizations leverage technology to provide the highest quality of care for its patients.
The changing perception of an EHR implementation and activation as a cultural shift instead of a technology switch is the nexus where patients and providers start benefiting from technology enhancements. Initiating a formal readiness plan for organizations implementing new technologies is an emerging trend, and aims to accomplish better system development and workflow design, improved training, clear communications, and physician and end user buy-in from day one. Below, I’ve outlined just a few key areas of a successful readiness plan.
Improved Communications. A critical error often overlooked is also the simplest: communicate the change before, during, and after. Developing a strategic communication plan that is deployed early on, at the right time, to the right people, and about the right things is essential to not only preparing an organization for change, but also building a culture of acceptance and respect for that change. The plan should recognize the appropriate cascade of information, often times from senior leadership to management to end users, and leverage known, preferred avenues for message delivery.
Better, Long-Haul Training is Being Offered. The assimilation of technology into hospitals has been a long journey. Provider organizations now realize that if there isn’t user adoption, worflows are being worked around, or training has been forgotten, or if end users just aren’t engaged in the system, the technology will not serve as the enabler of modern medicine as planned.
As a result of this lesson learned (and many learned it the hard way):
- Better, more workflow oriented training programs are being deployed up front, with weigh-in from providers and other end users
- Detailed training repositories are being maintained throughout and following the system implementation, serving as a rich resource for Q&A
- Training sustainability is considered at the start; prioritizing training delivery capabilities, such as interactive eLearning, that can be used throughout the lifespan of the technology
Stakeholder & End User Buy-In. Commitment from your organization is the sum of all implementation parts, it’s the glue that holds it all together, and what every readiness strategy aims to accomplish. From the start of any change, it’s been known that stakeholder and executive buy-in is required for permission to start. Pleading the case, so to say, is what we do to get a project moving; however, a benefits-oriented end user engagement plan will support rapid adoption. It’s a change that challenges an entire organization, but rests on the shoulders of the people using it: providers, the care team, patient billing staff, business office staff, etc.
I’ve had the privilege of being part of some very successful transformations, and bring with me the lessons learned from a highly diverse and complex client list. If anything I talked about here resonates with you or your organization, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.