Guest post by Sivan Agranat, M.D., VP, Medical R&D, medCPU.
The successful implementation of new IT solutions can depend as much on user acceptance as on the technical aspects of implementation. Gaining that user acceptance is largely a matter of ensuring stakeholders are part of the conversation during pre-implementation, followed by fully accounting for and meeting end-user needs during roll-out and beyond. Nobody, especially busy doctors and nurses, appreciates having new technology dropped on them; nor should they. Their input throughout the process is critical not only to their acceptance, but also to solution optimization.
The following is a suggested course of action for gaining stakeholder buy-in and sustained satisfaction that can make new technologies a welcomed addition to clinical care settings.
The technology selection process
Provider organizations invariably have some clinicians who appreciate the benefits of health IT more so than others, and who serve as internal IT champions. When their opinions are respected by their peers, they can be invaluable allies in new implementation projects, which is why it’s imperative to loop them in as clinical representatives at the beginning of the vendor selection process. Their combination of clinical expertise and affinity for IT can be indispensable in validating vendor claims, ensuring the most promising solutions rise to the top. Additionally, having been involved from project start can help enable them to be better positioned to promote the solution internally and offer meaningful support to their peers as they gain user proficiency.
One important element that’s too often overlooked is: When gathering input from clinical representatives during vendor selection, pay close attention to ensure solution capabilities align with existing workflows. Making later adjustments to ensure the right information is delivered to the right person at the right time can be costly and time-consuming.
Before making a final decision on vendor selection, hold an all-stakeholder preview meeting. This can help head off resistance while gaining needed input. Include all targeted end users, not just nurses and doctors, but members of the nursing and clinical support teams as well. If the implementation is a major initiative, consider having meetings with primary stakeholders and include an introduction by the Chief Medical Officer, who can best explain the project’s importance.
In all stakeholder preview meetings, begin by describing how and why the project transpired and what it is designed to accomplish. Next demonstrate the solution and engage people and ask for their feedback. Most importantly, take all feedback to heart, and address stated concerns as clearly as possible. This attention and courtesy can help ward off skepticism at time of rollout, and help ensure acceptance. Also, you may learn from the end user feedback that will help foster enhanced final adjustments before the actual rollout.