As healthcare practitioners are increasingly being asked to do more with less, healthcare organizations are turning to innovative technology to help their staff boost patient engagement and improve quality of care. Healthcare technology and software can help improve patient communication and access to care, enhance patient self-efficacy, and increase patient activation and adherence, making it critical to the success of your organization. Identifying the right engagement platform is just the start—getting your staff to full utilization is another important piece of the puzzle.
In order to effectively implement new technology, your staff needs to be properly trained with high-quality education that matches your organizational and patient needs. Here are three tips to use when preparing your organization to adopt new healthcare technology.
Leverage a change management program
Change management is the systematic approach to dealing with the transition of the organization’s goals, in this case a change to processes and technology. In order to get staff on board with organizational changes, it’s usually best to use a structured change management approach to help lead your team to the desired outcome, and see it through into the future.
If the rollout and adoption of a new technology or process in a healthcare setting doesn’t go smoothly, the initiative can get caught in a limbo that can have a negative impact on patient care and overall costs.
To succeed, you’ll need a three-phased approach:
Prepare the organization to adopt the new technology
To ensure a swift rollout, you’ll need to make sure everyone is on the same page. In addition to any formal announcement and group training, you can have leadership set up time to address individual questions.
Manage the change throughout implementation
Check in with staff at regular intervals to review progress and address any roadblocks. If possible, assignment and adherence can be automated within your Learning Management System. For example, in the process of improving their virtual care strategies with new technology, many MedBridge partners have used MedBridge Knowledge Tracks to assign training and monitor completion and adherence to ensure compliance.
Monitor the process to ensure you can sustain adoption and outcomes long term
Schedule check-ins with staff to troubleshoot any problems that may arise over time. Many questions or issues may not become apparent until the technology is in regular use, so checking the temperature from time to time can unearth issues that need to be resolved.
Focus on one type of training to simplify adoption and adherence
Choosing staff training can be a difficult task when there are so many resources to choose from, and offering too many can spread staff time and energy thin if any problems happen to arise. Focusing on either certificate programs or a relevant course series to train your staff in a particular area of interest is an efficient and comprehensive way to make sure your team is fully onboard with training.
For example, if your focus was on implementing a new telehealth platform, then a pre-built Telehealth Certificate Program would be a quick, scalable solution to get staff with varying levels of experience with virtual care technology onto the same page when introducing a new telehealth platform. This might include training on how to:
- Recognize whether or not a patient is appropriate for telehealth
- Communicate the advantages and disadvantages of telehealth with the patient
- Resolve technical issues
- Effectively incorporate telehealth into their care delivery
Identify a ‘champion’ to help get your training across the finish line
A ‘champion’ is the point person within your staff who can take on a leadership role when implementing a new engagement technology, and help educate their colleagues on usage strategies. It’s best if you can identify a champion within your staff who possesses a skillset and soft skills that align with the organization’s goal. For example, if the goal is the rollout and adoption of a new platform, it’s essential that the champion is both tech savvy and motivated.
Depending on your organization’s size, one champion may be appropriate, or you may need to put together a team or several teams. For larger organizations, the American Medical Association suggests a core team, leadership team, advisory team, and implementation team1. To take virtual staff education one step further, you can equip your team with best-practice training by building customized educational programs. The ability to customize your team’s education can ease the administrative burden of coordinating clinician education while providing best practices across multiple forms of education that align with your organization goals.
- American Medical Association. (2020). Telehealth Implementation Playbook. https://www.ama-assn.org/system/ files/2020-04/ama-telehealth-playbook.pdf