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Facilitating a successful digital adoption program in your healthcare organization

By Wilmer Castro / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
November 15, 2018

Healthcare organizations are seeing opportunities in the evolution of technology and are scrambling to adopt newer, better solutions. In a 2018 poll by Ernst and Young that tapped 152 physicians and 195 executives to understand their perceptions of digital technologies in healthcare, an overwhelming 91 percent of respondents have or are planning to undertake a digital adoption initiative in the next year.

Seventy percent of participants implemented technologies with the aim of improving the patient experience, while over half sought tech as the solution to improving clinical outcomes and customer relationships. Yet as healthcare organizations adopt these technologies, those without a human-centric adoption approach that caters to the specific needs of their healthcare workers risk finding the transition difficult, unsuccessful and unprofitable.

Nearly every organization experiences difficulties with adoption regardless of industry. These issues can range from lack of employee engagement, lack of relevant training and general low awareness due to poor communication from leadership. But because healthcare practitioners, in particular, are susceptible to burnout and typically work different hours each week, a digital adoption strategy for that audience must consider a few unique factors in order for it to be successful.

Getting started

Gathering functional representation from across the organization in a virtual or in-person session to discuss business goals for the new technology and understanding how each functional group might be impacted by the new technology is key. Adoption and Change Management firms could help guide these discussions and educate executives on the critical role they play during a technology migration.

Addressing varying shifts

With any adoption initiative, employees will go at their own pace. Specific to healthcare, a large number of workers hold different shifts each week and must complete trainings during limited and varying downtime. In these instances, management should rely on Adoption Measurement Plans when designing a digital adoption plan. An Adoption Measurement Plan should be established early on to identify how quickly employees are up-and-running on the new technology, how many employees are demonstrating “buy-in” through use, and how well individuals are performing compared to the desired business objectives.

Data provided in these reports allows healthcare leadership to picot and adjust learning plans throughout the course of the technology migration. If consumption data shows that ER nurses are accessing training portals in the middle of the night, learning leaders can develop a customized plan to provide training options during the early morning hours, with a curriculum that is specific to the emergency care needs.

What is in it for me?

After leadership collectively shared the unique factors impacting their perspective group of healthcare workers, they must pinpoint the “what’s in it for me” value proposition. In this industry, that value proposition is the efficiency technology provides to help address those unique characteristics. Understanding this audience suffers from the issues mentioned above, a successful adoption strategy is one that clearly illustrates the “what’s in it for me” -- which is improved efficiencies, greater collaboration and increased flexibility from the proper usage of new software.

Painting a picture of successful adoption

Finally, it’s critical for employees to be able to understand how these technologies will play into their day-to-day moving forward. Leadership must paint a picture of the future state of an organization so that the end users can visualize how their current frustrations will be addressed through the implementation of the new technologies.

Gaining a clear understanding of how new productivity tools will support existing systems - like how Microsoft Outlook can reinforce an EHR platform - is critical to the employees’ integration of said systems and, ultimately, dictates the success of an adoption.

At its core, facilitating a digital adoption is about connecting employees to the tech and providing the means to understand how it can help them. Employees must not only understand that a change is underway, but also that the change is for the better.

Wilmer Castro is the Learning and Development Director for Vitalyst

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