The word symbiotic is rarely used to describe the relationship between two hospital departments, but it’s precisely what’s needed for successful tech projects, whether they involve changing IT systems or upgrading existing ones.
Without health care IT to drive new initiatives, imaging departments would install a system and use it until it was so outdated it ceased to be effective. At the same time, without robust physician adoption of new systems or features, IT upgrades benefit precisely no one.
Tired of physicians grumbling about having to relearn everything? Had enough of IT managers lamenting over stubborn physicians who refuse to see the improvements the new system will bring? Recognize the interdependence between the two and pave the way for smoother IT projects.
1. Plan for success.
It may be a bitter pill to swallow, but the onus is on IT execs if they want enthusiastic adoption. Here are some things they must do to set themselves up for success.
2. Tell the whole story (and do it in the language physicians speak).
Generally speaking, IT does a poor job of explaining the reasons for new or upgraded systems. They tend to frame it in IT or business terms, neither of which physicians care much about. Take the time to understand how the system will benefit the physicians (even if it’s indirect), and emphasize that. Perhaps physicians will be able to access images from more places, wait less time for data, or access data they couldn’t before. Physicians are always interested in being able to show their productivity level, so be sure to include that benefit if appropriate.
3. Line up a dream team.
Although the project is initiated and directed by IT, it’s not going to happen without a strong, cross-functional team. Seek out physicians who are not only early adopters, but also influencers—and get them on board. Recognize their importance on the team; without them, the adoption levels needed for fast ROI won’t be reached.
4. Measure first, measure often.
Baseline measurements are essential to show where department and/or individual levels were before the project. It’s not enough just to have them—everyone who will be affected by the project must understand what they mean and what the numbers will look like after the implementation.
5. Train, pause, repeat.
IT leans toward the one-and-done method of system training, which is the opposite of what physicians need. Classroom training is the least desirable method; physicians learn best in their everyday environment using real-world examples. Health care IT is different: for any new system or upgrade, plan to give physicians a brief overview before the project starts, hands-on training during implementation, and one-on-one assistance for anyone struggling after go-live.
6. Beat the benefits drum.
Make sure every doc who can benefit from the new system learns how to attain those benefits. If better access to data is a major reason for the upgrade, teach everyone the steps needed to access those files. Likewise, if the new IT system improves interoperability, be sure each physician understands the care continuity, patient education, and physician mobility benefits derived from the improved integration.
7. Focus on the big picture.
Finally, be sure physicians understand how the upgrade relates to value-based care in general and the imaging department’s value in particular. Focusing on the big picture rather than cost reduction or turnaround times is the way to achieve the symbiosis needed for a high degree of physician adoption.
Ready to pave the way for smoother IT projects that will be embraced by your physician community? Contact our health care it services experts and consultants at McKesson Medical Imaging Professional Services for assistance.