Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part blog post on technology and workflow. Read Part 1 here.
In the first part of this blog post, I discussed how healthcare systems often make the mistake of adopting new digital technology without considering their desired workflows.
That can lead to disappointing results or, worse, incompatibilities with existing technology. There’s a guideline to follow that avoids this problem: Any new tool or technology that is put in place must support the organizational objectives.
It seems obvious, but it’s often overlooked because systems approach the process of implementing new technology from the wrong direction.
They should begin at the end. What do they want the ultimate workflow to be? What needs to happen to achieve that? Where are the existing problems and what needs to change to make operations smoother, more efficient and more profitable?
Hospital executives will certainly have opinions on those questions, but the most useful answers aren’t found in the C-suite. They’re found at the nurse stations, labs, ORs, appointment desks and anywhere else employees use the technology. Those end-users know what works and what doesn’t, where the bottlenecks are, and most importantly, what they need to do their jobs faster, better and more efficiently.
Getting the input of all end-users is crucial to not only finding the right technology, but having it accepted by those users.
Consider that we tend to like new technology when it’s a phone or TV, but not so much at work where tech upgrades are rightfully viewed with a certain amount of apprehension. The front-end employee who will be using the new tool is not terribly interested in their organization’s overall digital goals or why Vendor A was chosen over Vendor B. They just want to know if the new tech will make their job easier or harder, how it works and how difficult it will be to learn.
Start by explaining to users why the new technology is needed and how it will benefit them. Then give them real input into the workflow design, and they are more likely to be accepting of the new system.
When we work with clients, we make sure everyone with a stake in the new tech has a seat at the planning table and can speak freely about goals, problems and solutions. Our clinicians make sure the end-users’ point of view is never lost. That is the best way to ensure that any new tool achieves its goals.
Of course, successful implementation of a tool requires more than purchase and installation. In a large hospital system, tens of thousands of people might have to be trained on it. If it’s patient-facing, the numbers are even higher. Although implementing new healthcare tech is never going to be simple, it can be made easier with a plan that:
- Makes technology serve the desired workflow and business requirements, not the other way around.
- Gets input from end-users and makes sure everyone is at the table.
- Offers training and support.
That’s why starting with the end in mind and building a well-planned rollout and a robust training program to support adoption sets an organization up for success.