This guest post from Donald Tex Bryant, a quality and productivity expert turned healthcare consultant, shares advice on how to adopt new technology (seamlessly, of course).
Adopting new technology is always exciting … until you try to implement it at your practice and teach your staff how to use it. The onboarding and troubleshooting may sometimes actually be more overwhelming than helpful at first. But just like learning to ride a bike for the first time, you have some hiccups in the beginning - but it’s so worth the learning curve.
The last time I went to see my primary care physician, he still hadn’t started using an EHR or ePrescribing. Although his medical group hadn’t yet rolled out these capabilities, they were planning to - eventually.
I see this in a lot of practices - the hesitation to implement new tech because sticking with the old way seems easier than learning something new. New technology can totally transform a practice, though, and it starts with asking yourself the right questions:
- Will the new technology increase productivity?
- Will there be a positive return on investment?
- Will the new technology improve patient safety?
- If the technology is adopted, how should it be rolled out or implemented?
So, what’s the best way to implement something new?
Like with any great plan, put the entire team in the same mindset. If two minds are better than one, imagine what 4 or 5 can do. Rolling out a new system across your entire practice is a lot easier when you have an entire team leading the way.
Understand why you’re doing it
Once your team is organized, one of the first things they should do is understand why this new technology should be adopted. After all, every change in process should have a specific purpose and gain, right? Ask yourself, will it increase productivity? Have a positive ROI? Improve patient safety?
Maybe it’s mandated that your practice implement it. This is the case for ePrescribing, as CMS mandated its adoption for all practices.
In any case, determining how it’s beneficial for your practice will make you and your staff more willing and eager to adopt new technology in the first place.
Define your strategy and success
Break down the roll out into easy-to-implement phases. There’s nothing more demotivating than unrealistic milestones that take months to accomplish. So, set attainable goals for completing each step - implementation, onboarding, and troubleshooting.
You may even want to start with a limited rollout to a particular group within your practice. Starting small gives you the flexibility to change things up without creating too much disruption.
Also, make sure to set success measures early on so you know what you’re shooting for. You can’t score if you don’t know what target you’re aiming for.
Collect data you can learn from
During implementation, you should continuously collect data on your desired success measures. This way you can make adjustments to the implementation, if necessary.
Celebrate. Then, think ahead.
If all goes well, it’s time to celebrate! Successfully implementing a new system is no small feat.
Then take some time to reflect and identify your areas of improvement. How can you make better use of the technology while it’s rolled out to the rest of the business or site? How can you make future implementations go smoother? Even Superbowl-winning teams review their game tapes to find weak spots and revise their plays for next season.
Remember - new technology can be complex and fully implementing its features takes time. So, give yourself time to learn and improve.
Donald Tex Bryant is a quality and productivity expert turned healthcare consultant, who helps healthcare providers meet their challenges. You can find him at Bryant’s Healthcare Solutions.
The complete original version of this article was published on Kevin MD and has been slightly modified for clarity.