Tag: health IT implementation

Harnessing the Power of Human Capital: Enabling Transformation for Healthcare IT Initiatives through Effective Project and Change Management

By Bill Slama, business consulting senior manager; Philip Handal, business consulting senior manager; and Jamie Morisco, business consulting experienced manager, Grant Thornton LLP.

Healthcare organizations are scrambling to harness the potential of digital technology to transform their business and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Whether they are looking to modernize their back-office systems, optimize their electronic health record, or leverage smart medical equipment and IoT for advanced data analytics, health systems are constantly engaged in transformational projects and programs. According to reports, 25 percent of these technology projects fail outright; 20 percent to 25 percent don’t show any return on investment; and as many as 50 percent need massive reworking by the time they are finished.

But the question is why: Why is it that such a high percentage of these technology enabled transformation projects fail? Studies show that poor project and change management is to blame for 54 percent of failed projects – while only 3 percent can be attributed to technological problems. Having an effective program and change management strategy – and the resources to implement and sustain that strategy – is critical to ensuring the project is on time, on-budget, and aligned with organizational goals and culture.

Change management means understanding the holistic impact of a change and encouraging and empowering employees to adopt and own that change. Without proper change management in place, projects can become burdened by: increased end-user stress and frustration, resistance to new technologies or processes, decreased adoption, and lower financial and operational returns on project investments.

One of the most common change-related reasons projects fail is due to lack of active and visible sponsorship (i.e., sponsors who are engaged, participatory, and of relevant standing/influence). Setting the tone at the top while maintaining consistently visible and active commitment from sponsors and relevant leaders is the foundation of a successful change and ultimately transformation project.

A common mistake is making the assumption that having a kick-off meeting means you’ve effectively communicated the scope, approach, purpose and goals of the project to all the primary stakeholders. Projects are dynamic – change happens on weekly, if not daily, basis – it is critical to engage and stay engaged to truly manage, communicate and effectively enable change through transformation. Stakeholder communication should always outline the benefits, risks and opportunities the change presents to their groups. Doing this with regular cadence across various channels of communication helps establish a network of change agents throughout the organization that can be relied upon to champion change and fully integrate change into the strategy and culture of the organization.

Enabler #1: Change Management

Change management activities should be integrated into the overall project plan through four critical phases:

  1. Awareness – Creating awareness that change and/or transformation is coming and informing those impacted of the timelines and tasks associated
    • Organizations should provide advance notice that significant change is on the horizon – whether it be a new business application, emerging technology, or automation of manual processes. This step is critical to successful change adoption. Advertising the macro-level timelines and micro-level tasks required to implement and sustain related to the impending change allows those impacted to be better equipped to navigate the change and minimize the impact on their day-to-day operations.
  2. Understanding – Communicating the genesis of the change, why it’s happening, and its impacts/benefits
    • Those impacted by the change (e.g. user community, stakeholders, sponsors, etc.) want to know why the new change is occurring – especially if the old way of doing things seemed to be working just fine. Fostering a culture of transparency, sharing the impetus for change and its expected impacts, and affording those affected by change the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns allows everyone impacted to feel more involved in the process. It helps to establish a culture of togetherness and collaboration, and conveys the message that those impacted are part of the solution rather than an impediment to progress.
  3. Adoption – Acceptance and willingness to support and participate in change
    • Creating ownership of the change allows those impacted to see change is not “being done to me”, but rather “with me”. This can create enthusiasm among those impacted to adopt because they have an ownership stake in the success of the change.
  4. Commitment – Dedication to sustainment and enablement of change over time
    • The more people feel as if their contributions, ideas, thoughts, work products, and more positively contributed to the success of the change and/or overall program, the more eager they will be to adopt and sustain that change over time.

Always remember change – and ultimately, transformation – does not happen because of the implementation of new and emerging technologies. People drive change and transformation. Without their support, endorsement, and acceptance, change and transformation are not possible.

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The Importance of Analytics for a Healthcare System

By Bethany Durst, writer, Decisive Data.

Ever increasing computational power, advances in artificial intelligence, and the lower of the cost computation (because of cloud computing service, such as Azure and Amazon Web Services) has enabled healthcare systems – often laggards in quality improvement and technology adoption – to rapidly implement analytics systems. Such systems enable enterprises to analyze and model their processes, engage in meaningful quality and process improvement activities, and prepare to succeed in value and risk-based payment models.

Hewlett Packard Enterprises recently published a piece that delineated some of the benefits that enterprises can gain from analytics (specifically the predictive form):

Enterprises with existing, legacy analytics systems – for example those that mainly work with claims-based data or lack predicative or real-time capabilities can likewise obtain the above efficiencies. A modern data warehouse must be flexible, SQL-enabled, cloud-based, and highly secure. Snowflake Computing’s cloud-based infrastructure is an example of one such system which can be easily scaled as it is offered to clients with usage-based pricing. A data warehouse alone, however, is not sufficient for an enterprise. Tools must be provided to prep, transform, and perform analysis on the data. Alteryx Designer, one such tool, allows analysts to prep and blend data from heterogenous sources – e.g., CSVs, databases, Excel files — in an efficient and reproducible manner, and, more importantly, it includes spatial and predictive analytics. This enables organizations to move from retrospective and barely actionable data to immediately actionable real-time predictive analytics.

The implementation of an analytics systems (or the migration of a legacy system) is not a project to be undertaken without serious thought how change is managed within an organization. Many facets of an organization will be impacted by such projects. Matthew Morris, lead data enabler at an international wholesaling club based in Washington state, who has overseen both the maintenance of legacy analytics system and the migration to a modern one using a team from Decisive Data and Alteryx’s tools, noted some key behaviors or strategies that should be taken to ensure a successful project:

Get leadership buy-in – Many people naturally resist change. Ensuring that leadership across the enterprise is committed to the change will enable a coherent messaging to be addressed to all stakeholders. There are many strategies to achieve leadership buy-in. A notable one, the ADKAR model is described here.

Choosing an effective partner – Especially for mission-critical or strategically sensitive projects, external help is critical. Talented consultants can augment staff skill shortages and bring critical experience (and lessons learned from other projects).

Be there and integrate training creatively – Project leaders should spend time onsite at the various locations where work occurs to ensure proper training and data conversion. During training, don’t just rely on classroom style training; rather, sit down with users and work through actual day-to-day problems. Consider also setting up open office hours where super users or hired technology partners can guide users through specific day-to-day processes.

Train Superusers – A successful analytics systems empowers users – especially key super users – to use the application on their own and not to depend on report requests to an analytics department. 

Be honest and use humor – The latter can assist in convincing people to give a new system a chance. Honestly builds rapport within an organization especially during a challenging project. If one is converting from a legacy analytics system to a new one, it is important to empathize with users.  They have been doing their work on the old system for years; their apprehension is natural.

Make friends with problem persons but acknowledge that not everyone will accept change – Try working alongside so-called problem persons. It will help you as a project leader to determine why they are negative and show that you are empathetic to their concerns and are personally invested in their successful transition. Note, however, there will be a minority of users that will refuse to accept the change. For the project to be successful, it may be necessary to move on and hope that they come around once the project is successful.

Be a warrior and ignore borders – Sometimes it is important to put a stop to delaying tactics such as an abundance of meetings and just move forward. Additionally, such assertiveness must be used to modify the scope of the project if it is necessary to keep the organization functioning.

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