Initially, the Agile methodology was invented to fasten development processes in the software field while maintaining product quality. Instead of using slower traditional methods, Agile helped speed up value delivery using short sprints and end-user feedback for improvements. The approach focused on interactions and individuals over tools and processes and collaboration with customers other than contract negotiation. Other target points were efficient software over exhaustive documentation and response to change rather than following plans.
Today, Agile has been adopted by many industries, other than the software development sector. Despite this, the healthcare sector has been slower in accepting the methodology. In other fields, Agile is used as an incremental and iterative methodology used in project management to assist teams in meeting the current workplace demands. It utilizes various frameworks like Kanban, SCRUM, etcetera. All these are, centered on continuous process improvement, transparency, flexibility, and quality. You can learn more about these Agile structures by reviewing the available online resources or other research materials.
How Agile Principles And The Healthcare Industry Relate
You can describe an agile organization as one that adapts faster and efficiently to rapid change, which is essential. Those that aren’t, however, find it hard to keep up with the ever-changing market conditions. The healthcare industry can benefit hugely by using continuous process improvement methodologies like Agile. For instance, they can give better patient care and cut costs. Additionally, Agile can boost innovations and enhance the technologies used in healthcare for both business and clinical processes.
It’s said that the healthcare sector mostly utilizes traditional methods that may negatively affect performance. It has also been mentioned that only a small percentage of healthcare leaders are aware of Agile. However, the small group that utilizes this methodology has reported that their teams achieve more with Agile than conventional methods. That being so, the industry continues to grow, and numerous regulatory and financial pressures surround it. Therefore, adopting Agile principles increases effective and efficient management of the existing services and resources.
The healthcare sector can achieve agility by:
- Defining their strategic goals and identifying how Agile can help them get there.
- Evaluating which departments are already utilizing Agile. Some may be the Information Technology (IT) department or the healthcare innovation business units within the organization.
- Looking for areas that present an opportunity to launch the Agile concept and creating a map to achieve it.
- Defining the organization’s stable backbone as well as the dynamic regions that Agile teams can handle.
- Introducing Agile prototypes, iterating, and regularly improving the models using teams’ regular feedback. At the same time, allow learning and ensure quicker adaptation of the Agile model in the targeted departments.
- Enhancing scalability by changing the selected business units to be completely Agile.
- By implementing Agile principles in one department, then another, soon the organization will get to a point whereby the model will become self-sustainable.
These steps can be helpful to any other industry as well. Applying the above could have, several benefits for both firms and their customers.
How The Healthcare Sector Can Benefit From Agile Principles
The healthcare industry can enjoy significant advantages by implementing Agile methodologies. Some of these benefits can be reduced the spending of financial resources, improved care, and enhanced innovations, which have been mentioned above.
Elaborate ways in which the Agile principles can help the healthcare sector include:
- Improved Employee Engagement In Projects
One Agile principle states that you should ensure that projects are built around motivated people. You are to give employees the support they require, allow them the environment needed, and trust that they’ll complete their assigned jobs.
Implementing this principle can serve as one of the ways to impr ove employee engagement in tasks. They can also become more creative and innovative. The Agile methodology can therefore help your staff reduce errors and ensure better care to patients.
- Reduced Risks
The Agile model emphasizes constant attention to design and technical perfection. This factor can significantly improve agility. During process improvement, the iterative techniques can help an organization identify and mitigate potential risks easily and quickly.
- Improved Customer Satisfaction
One principle in the Agile model stresses that companies should maintain consumer focus. It explains that the consumer has to be involved in all stages of service delivery. The firm also has to ensure regular communication with the client and allow constant feedback from them.
The healthcare industry can benefit from this principle. Regular responses from patients ensure constant improvements in service delivery by the sector to satisfy the clients. These adjustments can also be advantageous to medical organizations since improved processes ensure more uncomplicated and efficient ways of providing services.
- Ensure A Quicker Return On Investment (ROI)
Traditional process improvement systems were slower and required more finances. With the Agile approach, however, the healthcare industry gets quicker outcomes with every iteration. In addition, the benefits are witnessed in much earlier stages.
- Improved Flexibility
Organizations that utilize the Agile model can quickly and successfully adapt to sudden regulatory, financial, or other changes. The Agile principles can thereby help the health sector to adapt to the ever-evolving environment quickly. The model can allow a faster response to change and, therefore, speedier adaptation to adjustments.
- Enhanced Transparency In Performance
Agile principles can help a company avail real-time alerts and updates about the latest adjustments. Both external and internal stakeholders are made aware of current plans. This factor helps to improve satisfaction for all partners and build trust between them and the organization.
In the healthcare industry, Agile can help to improve transparency as well in both non-clinical and clinical areas. Hence, confidence in the sector is enhanced, and all stakeholders become well pleased.
Agile principles have greatly benefited the firms that adopted them first. The healthcare field may have been slower to consider them, but they’re catching up. One of the ways that the medical system can gain by embracing Agile is by increasing customer satisfaction. The model can also help deliver a quicker ROI, enhance performance transparency, and reduce potential risks in service delivery. Additionally, employees within the sector can become more motivated, which as a result, can boost staff engagement in the assigned projects.
Lastly, the healthcare industry can as well become more flexible. This means that sudden changes can’t delay processes since adaptation to the adjustments is made easier by the Agile principles.