5 Lessons From Digitally Transforming Healthcare in the USA
The threat of poorly executed digital transformation is distilled in the healthcare example because so much is at stake for both providers and patients. Change leaders in any industry can learn from the healthcare sector to boost their own digital transformation efforts.
Here are 5 lessons on digital transformation from healthcare.
1. Focus on Training Prior to Implementation
The introduction of EHRs spurred resistance among clinicians because it disrupted their workflows, and the benefits of the technology were not clear to the users. Although hospitals and physician practices worked long and hard with EHR vendors on implementation and training, gaps remained. Before implementing a new technology, leaders should allow those who will be using the tool to become accustomed to using it. In addition to providing hands-on training, clarify the purpose the technology will serve, and highlight the benefits it will yield.
You can preempt resistance by anticipating issues and addressing them before they occur. Employees are inherently wary of change because change means uncertainty. But if they gain a clear picture of how their roles and daily workflow will be different, they will be more receptive to learning how to use new technology. Employees will also be less resistant when less effort is required of them. Solutions that enable users with low tech aptitude to complete tasks easily are a sure way to mitigate resistance, while improving productivity.
2. Promote Buy-In by Identifying Champions
Champions are integral to digital transformation efforts. Champions are individuals who serve as credible influencers among their peers. They don’t need to hold a formal leadership appointment, but they must be trusted, respected, and able to rally support for change. During a digital transformation, champions are tasked with promoting buy-in among staff by demonstrating enthusiasm about the new tools. They also establish clear lines of communication between staff and the C-suite.
Champions help garner trust across the organization, which is essential for successful change. Physician champions are critical to change management in the practice of medicine because they understand their peers’ workflow and share the same goals and concerns. Other physicians trust them to relay their feedback to the leadership, and to advocate on their behalf. However, during EHR implementations amid digital transformation in healthcare, critics’ voices were much louder than supporters’.
3. Embed the New Technology into the Organization’s Culture
The oft-repeated adage “culture eats strategy for breakfast” gets repeated because it’s true. Change managers and IT leaders can design a digital transformation effort to the tee, but if the organization doesn’t possess a culture of innovation, the effort will fall flat. The healthcare industry as a whole is relatively resistant to change because clinicians tend to subscribe to evidence-based reasoning. If they cannot see exactly how a new tool or process will help them take better care of patients, they might not believe it’s worth implementing. This mindset was a fundamental obstacle during the digital transformation in healthcare.
Change is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Simplify it with WalkMe. While acknowledging that change might be difficult or feel personal to employees, leaders must promote a culture that values constant improvement and innovation. In healthcare, that means always being prepared to provide a case for change. Just as medicine continually seeks to advance, people within an organization should embrace tools that enable them to work better.
4. Ensure the Technology Fulfills its Promise
We would be remiss not to mention the glaring fact the many EHR systems are difficult to use, plain and simple. No matter how comprehensive training is, employees will likely resist new technology if it’s too complex. Clinicians often complain EHRs are not intuitive by design, they lead to click fatigue, and they are time-consuming and distracting. Overall, there is much room for improvement.
When embarking on a digital transformation, make sure the new technology fulfills its full potential. If not, consider supplementing the technology with a tool to help users navigate it more effectively. For physicians, this is the critical difference that ensures technology will never be an obstacle to quality care.
5. Make Support Continually Available
A digital initiative may have a specific start date, but the end date is not as clear. It takes time for users to acclimate to a new technology system. Therefore, learning should extend beyond the implementation period. Employee resistance often comes from the frustration of not knowing how to do something, especially when time is limited. In healthcare, clinicians who struggle to use an EHR not only feel overwhelmed and stressed, but they can also contribute to coding and billing errors, resulting in lower revenue and a worse patient experience.
By offering continual support, you can quell resistance among users and empower employees to perform at an optimal level. Set your employees up for success during a digital transformation by providing them with tools to make this possible.