By Christina Boyd, vice president of client solutions, DocuTAP.
Switching to a new EMR is never easy and can be a real challenge for urgent care providers. However, when the current system doesn’t align with your practice’s goals, you’ve got to take the plunge.
Leadership may see the benefits, but getting the staff on board can be more difficult. This is perfectly understandable, since they’re the ones in the trenches every day and learning to use an entirely new system can be daunting. To make the transition successful, the support of staff is crucial.
In the best-case scenario, staff will not only support, but also understand how their lives will actually be easier after the switch. And therefore, it is up to leadership to set the tone by providing insight into the why and how weeks before the actual change is made. The question is: What are the specific steps you need to take to get staff to buy-in?
Choose technology wisely
A smooth transition begins with choosing the right solution, so it’s important to find a solution that’s intuitive and user friendly – in essence it should work just like the technology the staff uses as consumers in their daily lives. Take the time to make sure it’s the right solution to prevent a subsequent change, and your confidence will trickle down.
Prepare and plan
There is no substitute for good preparation and planning. Know and communicate the plan for pre-launch training, go-live and post implementation support because the unknown is often a source of anxiety. If everyone on staff knows the process and the plan they will be more confident in managing the change.
Additionally, knowing how to discuss the change with staff is critical to effectively lay out the vision. What you are changing and why? How will this change impact each person? How will success be measured? At the end of the day, employees need to understand why the new technology is an improvement – not an inconvenience.
Choose a physician champion
Find one physician that believes strongly in the vision for the practice and the value a new EMR solution will bring to the clinic. The entire team is more likely to get on board if they hear the enthusiastic support of a respected colleague.
Start at the top
Urgent care owners know their staff best, so foster this personal relationship and secure the support of team leaders first. Start by asking them what they see as top challenges for the organization when it comes to the EMR or other technology used and allow them to offer solutions. Think about their roles and responsibilities and approach them individually to talk about how the change will affect their work life. This approach shows leadership recognizes the unique challenges each team member will face, and it matters to them.
Once their support is secured, have them work with the rest of the staff on their teams to help them get ready. Give them real-world scenarios as teaching tools and share stories that illustrate the intended results. For example, walk through the notable changes in the new EMR and possible questions that may come up from patients.
Get staff involved
Have team members own specific tasks during the change process so they have a stake in the outcome. Not only will it help to get the job done, but it will help to remove uncertainties and make the team more cohesive in the long run.
Provide comprehensive training
The training plan must be all-encompassing nd mandatory for staff to complete. Assign training and allow staff time to complete it. Provide the information in a variety of formats—digital and print. This may include video, webinars and printed guides as different employees learn best in different ways. Follow up with hands-on practice. Once the team completes training, assess their progress and address challenges. It will be important to do all of this before the go-live.
The entire change process will be smoother if expectations, timelines and progress are properly communicated. Be transparent, address real concerns and offer solutions. Be sure to talk to the most resistant people on staff and find out why they’re fighting the change. Certainly not everyone will be enthusiastic but do the best to move them to a place of support. Remember that communication is a two-way street.
On the opposite end, everyone loves to see progress and be recognized so share positive results early and often. Getting staff buy-in doesn’t stop at go-live. Keep the conversation going, solve problems and stay positive.
As on-demand care grows across the country, clinics no longer need to work with – or around – software that doesn’t fit their needs. The struggle begins with choosing the right solution, but choosing a partner that understands the objectives and rationale behind the switch is equally critical.