4 Characteristics to Look for in a Change Management Partner
Aug 24, 2022
It used to be acceptable for IT to be disconnected from the core business. Healthcare companies would depend on IT to support their business strategies, but this siloed approach created inefficient processes as communications between the business units became easily garbled. As business technology in healthcare continues to evolve, it’s important to stay up to date.
With electronic health records (EHRs) at the foundation of modern patient care, technology is in the driver’s seat, and a more cooperative approach is needed to keep patients safe and happy. Yet, implementation is a long process that requires employee buy-in throughout the organization to succeed, and staff is typically stretched thin as it is. It’s no longer acceptable to deploy a generic platform and expect it to support the business when healthcare professionals are strained and need change management support pronto.
Changing internal business technology is complex and somewhat-unfamiliar territory. The healthcare sector has largely been ignored in studies on the effects of change management. Change management in healthcare requires both IT specialization and expertise in EHR adoption challenges. Choosing an organizational partner that will meet the needs of your healthcare organization will be more rewarding than a one-size-fits-all technical solution in the long run.
Third-Party Guidance in Change Management
It’s easy to think about necessary changes, but it’s a lot harder to roll out into a live healthcare environment. When poorly implemented, advanced technologies can have a muted or even negative impact.
Technology alone doesn’t make a healthcare facility state of the art. People are the heart of the business, and they must be on board with adopting new business technology. However, change isn’t always easy. Process changes need to be clearly communicated to staff, so they understand the reasoning behind them and can adapt. This requires recruiting help for the transition.
Hospitals no longer want to juggle working with five or six specialized firms in a siloed environment. About 70% of change initiatives fail because of the organization’s failure to adapt. They need a partner who takes a comprehensive stewardship approach across the entire EHR, from application testing to upgrades and training, all the way to end-user support and the full change management IT process.
A seemingly small change in one department can cause big problems for another that depends on the same data, causing EHR usability challenges throughout the organization. Managing this process means communicating with each stakeholder and ensuring everyone, from medical transcriptionists to physicians, is on the same page. Healthcare organizations need a partner that can provide guidance through this process.
4 Characteristics of the Ideal Change Management IT Partner
It’s important to research a partnership before diving in. Your change management partner should display four primary characteristics to separate themselves from the pack. A partner should:
1. Prioritize patient satisfaction
Patients go where they receive great customer service; it doesn’t take a healthcare expert to know this. Try being a patient—getting a hold of your doctor, making appointments, and getting test results can take five calls and emails without success. Yet, technology has progressed to provide better communication between physician and patient.
Demand for telemedicine, mobile apps, and other eHealth technologies is higher than ever. Rapid deployments mean updates can be missed, and this creates bugs and other problems that ruin the patient experience.
Any partner should be focused on increasing customer satisfaction, portal adoption, and value-based care solutions. This requires a partner that knows how to connect patients with physicians through a digital experience.
2. Take a holistic approach
As mentioned above, hospitals don’t have time to juggle multiple vendors. Routine tasks like reporting and user support can stretch existing resources beyond their means. Hiring and monitoring everything becomes a massive chore filled with repetitive tasks.
Instead, hospitals require a stewardship approach from a partner that can manage both routine tasks and high-value processes. This contributes to the overall business goals with a holistic solution that recognizes and addresses pain points throughout the operational supply chain.
3. Meet with you on a regular basis
It’s important to meet with partners regularly. Partners should be working with optimization and training teams to make necessary adjustments and truly improve business efficiency. Something as simple as a login request should be handled by your partner on the fly, although some (like CTG) go even further into workflow analysis.
Beyond password resets, a partner should look for workflow improvements and identify processes that can be automated. They can identify advantages and weaknesses to move beyond the help desk into continuous improvement.
4. Understand your business's vision and mission
Most vital is to hire a partner who’s already familiar with the business. Someone who is already engaged and knows the organization’s strategy is much more reliable than a newcomer. Most competitors in the service desk or application management spaces fall into silos, and healthcare businesses demand more.
Your partner should be embedded into your organization every day to understand the culture and priorities. This will help drive successful change management.
The true value derived from a third-party partnership is in increased patient engagement and satisfaction, which can drive revenue. Healthcare businesses are rushing to catch up with technology, and these changes can be difficult to implement. But with the right partner using a holistic approach, it’s a lot easier.