The 5 Most Effective Tips for Implementing New Digital Healthcare Solutions
Healthcare is a fast-paced industry: from overcrowded hospitals to tons of tedious paperwork and countless procedures to do, orders to submit, and patients to evaluate — every single day. Digital healthcare solutions, including novel technologies, cloud-based platforms, and innovative software, offer a glimmer of hope for clinicians who want to provide quality patient care, despite the increasing demands in the healthcare setting.
After all, patient care is the cornerstone of every successful hospital or clinic. It’s the key factor driving calls for change in a healthcare landscape that requires an ability to adapt to growing demands from government, payers, competition, and patients themselves.
But despite the obvious need for change, many doctors have reservations about implementing changes in regard to how they do things. They bring forward, quite valid objections — pointing out factors able to shake up hospital routines as we know them.
These reservations, while valid, shouldn’t stop practices from evaluating and considering new ways to achieve better results. As physicians do when considering new treatments and therapies for their patients, new solutions that can help staff be more productive and successful should be considered — even with a healthy dose of skepticism.
The big question remains: Is it worth it?
Dipping your toes in new waters always comes with a certain risk and the healthcare field is no different. But, standing still, not exploring new solutions with the potential to improve the vastly complex treatment process, and letting the competition surpass you is no alternative either.
So, where do you go from here?
Here’s an analysis of the objections that digital healthcare solutions face and the benefits they can bring. But most importantly, is there a way to effectively manage new healthcare technologies, so the hurdles of implementation become worthwhile? Let’s find out.
Objections to Healthcare Solutions & the Change They Bring
Key objections to new healthcare solutions are driven by one simple idea — change, even for the better, is always an adjustment and inconvenience to some extent. Who has time for that when you’re already short-staffed and drowning in work?
At the same time, maintaining workflow inefficiencies will only exacerbate the situation. But many objections brought forward by clinicians are legitimate:
- Learning to navigate a new software or utilize a new tool is time-consuming and requires retraining physicians and their support staff. But in a world where time is a scarce resource, how do you learn to use new technology?
- Learning a new tool ultimately means less time with patients, which could lead to undesirable outcomes in patient care.
- There’s no guarantee that goals and anticipated results will actually be reached with the new software solution. While healthcare facilities have some common denominators, every clinic has its own way of doing things. Why take the risk?
- More often than not, changes in the workflow are a nuisance. Things have always been done this way. Why change them now if they have worked for the past 20 years?
- Much of the time, healthcare technologies don’t communicate and work seamlessly with other technologies and software. Clinicians fear that software for healthcare will only work on designated systems, not be 100% compatible, and, in the end, present limitations that hinder the facility from truly flourishing. Why invest in something that may not work?
While valid, many of these objections come from a place of fear. Not knowing what’s going to happen and venturing outside of your comfort zone is never easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do.
A fresh perspective can provide new insight and help evaluate the issue at hand objectively. While change can be a deterrent, it’s important to bear in mind that progress can only prosper when you, in fact, embrace change.
Benefits of Digital Healthcare Solutions
Sometimes, being an innovator takes courage — it can “feel” easier to follow somebody else’s lead. But just because a digital healthcare solution hasn’t gone mainstream it doesn’t mean it can’t provide physicians and their staff with a solution to one or more of the difficult and complex challenges they face.
Curiosity about whether or not there’s a better way of doing something, a desire to make improvements, and a little courage, can go a long way.
Practices willing to challenge the status quo can take steps to understand their operations better and reap numerous benefits that support growth and, many times, assist in improving the quality of care.
Some of these benefits are:
- Save time and eliminate redundant and inefficient workflows
- Allow physicians to focus on providing care
- Reduce the cost of care by reducing inefficiencies
- Make processes more uniform across the board
- Improve and speed up communication by transitioning to digital means
- Increase access to clinical data
- Solve a problem that otherwise, would drain human and financial resources
- Simplify tasks and increase efficiency
While change can be intimidating at first, the benefits can make taking the plunge worthwhile. The key is implementation and how to plan for and introduce a reliable healthcare solution.
How to Go About Implementing Promising Healthcare Solutions
Technology has taken over many aspects of our modern world and has long become a vital component of our health system — but there’s room for growth. If new technological tools and healthcare solutions are strategically implemented, they can yield significant rewards for any patient care facility.
Nonetheless, many practices are still reluctant about altering existing, time-tested components of their process with newer, advanced healthcare solutions.
But as clinicians, nurses, and other healthcare support professionals, we know that technology is invaluable and helps us already in so many ways — especially given today’s demands in the healthcare industry.
It’s simply a matter of HOW to go about making technological changes to make providers and staff feel more at ease with the transition.
Here are five tips that’ll make for a smooth transition:
(1) Take One Step at a Time
There’s no need to jump the gun. Try not to make too many changes at one time. Implement one new solution at a time, and for each new solution, create a written plan with everyone involved and take steps incrementally that build towards a focused, shared goal.
It might make sense for the type of software you’re implementing, to experiment and validate results gradually and then course-correct as necessary. Do what you feel is best for your organization and expect the vendor to be accommodating.
(2) Do Your Research to Find a Tool that Meets Your Needs
Sometimes compatibility is an issue in healthcare as certain tools work better for a particular specialty or specific type of clinical task. It’s important you do your research and look at exactly what you want and need.
Most healthcare processes require some degree of integration into your existing software and processes. Depending on the component you’re looking to improve, there could be a high degree of integration necessary.
Others may, for the most part, be stand-alone with little to no direct integration. It’s important to distinguish between the different types of integration: software integration involves machine-to-machine integration but process integration involves installing and changing an existing workflow to accommodate a new solution.
Be sure to understand how and where both, software and process integration, occur. Your vendor should be highly engaged to assist with both. Most digital solution vendors offer free demos and trials that you should take advantage of to ensure this is, in fact, what you’re looking for.
(3) Plan Ahead: Goals & Expectations
Approach the implementation strategically and have a plan in place. Be clear on certain points:
- What problem are you hoping to solve?
- How can the new healthcare solution help you get there?
- How long will it take to train staff?
- When will you have fully adapted to the change?
- How cost-effective is the tool?
- How can you improve workflow and what tasks can you remove with the new software?
Setting goals and timelines makes things more attainable since you can measure and monitor progress and results. Always keep clear communication between all stakeholders during the implementation process.
(4) Cooperate with Your IT Department
Doctors and nurses are busy people and there’s no need to burden them with unnecessary tasks. Partner with your IT department ahead of implementation and designate someone on-site to help implement, coordinate, and support staff with questions and issues.
Your clinical personnel will feel much better knowing they have a go-to person they can reach out to for help and can still focus on their work during this process.
If your organization does not have an IT Department, work with your existing and new vendors for their knowledge, best practices, and “how to” guides. Don’t be afraid to ask!
(5) Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
While you’re going through this process and installing new software or replacing your old one, and while you’re making changes to the workflow, keep your eyes on the end goal: What is the workflow going to look like once everyone has been trained and your staff has adapted to the new way of doing things?
While there can be bumps along the way, it’s important to realize that this is normal. Most change comes with some short-term growing pains, but long-term positive results can be achieved with just a little courage, planning, and selecting the right vendor partner.
Make Change Happen with the Right Healthcare Solution
Despite potential complexity and the time and energy it requires, change is necessary, because replacing your routine with a smoother, more cost-effective, and faster alternative can yield long-term positive results.
Addressing workflow inefficiencies has become almost taboo in healthcare, especially given the workload that physicians and other clinical staff have to carry.
Vivlio Health is a healthcare solution that will take burdens off your staff by providing an innovative and much faster alternative to retrieving and exchanging medical records for your patients, along with the management of all medical information that was retrieved.
If you’re ready to make change happen for your practice, book a free demo with us, and let us show you how much healthcare technologies can advance your clinic.