Leading Through Change in Healthcare Technology Management

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By Stephanie Murray | May 17, 2024

3 minute read EHR/EMR| Epic| Blog

In life and in the workplace, change is something we have learned to expect. Thousands of books and blogs have been written about ways to set expectations and minimize stress to drive adoption of change.  

Now more than ever, technology is at the forefront of healthcare, and the drivers of change can come from a variety of sources. However, regardless of the source or our willingness to evolve, acknowledging and adapting to change can have its challenges for both those leading the change and those adopting it.  

How to shine through healthcare technology change  

Uncertainties and stress for IT teams supporting the technological needs of patients and providers are here to stay. Regardless of the related changes your organization is facing, these practical tips can help you successfully lead the way.  

1. Consider the big picture for clear articulation of the goals. 

Allow yourself time to process a change. Evaluate the pros and cons. By taking time to acknowledge the good and the bad, you can acclimate to the idea of change and begin to focus more on your approach and strategy. Take a moment to process what this means to all those involved. Outline your questions so you can more clearly articulate how the change will impact you, your team, and your organization.  

As experienced, objective partners working in tandem with health system leaders, we know that decisions surrounding go-forward technology solutions are complex, and when poorly planned, they can be costly. Perhaps your looming decision is: do we continue using Oracle Health, MEDITECH, or Epic, or should we transition to another EHR? How do we best support patient care and healthcare IT during these big transitions? We help clients move through the process from system selection and implementation to optimization and maintenance by providing comprehensive yet customized Epic services.

Consider partnering with CereCore on an assessment, even if it’s to explore something that's more symptom based. Often assessments can uncover a root cause of what's going on, in addition to addressing the surface level symptoms. An assessment done well can both diagnose the symptoms and the root cause so both can be managed or even solved. 

2. Determine the benefits of the change to drive adoption and optimization value. 

Although the initial reaction to change is often negative, discovering the benefits or opportunities (however hidden they may be), will help you lead your organization with a more positive outlook. With a more positive disposition toward the change, you are more likely to see viable, sustainable solutions and to foster more productive collaboration.  

For instance, driving continuous EHR optimization can significantly impact the perception and adoption of EHR solutions with your physicians, nurses, and care teams. Focused optimization projects can be achieved quickly for big wins improving the value of your Epic platform. One such example is using Rover, a mobile app for clinical review, patient list management, medication and blood administration, and specimen collection. Teaming up with a trusted partner to implement the application, you could see the benefits while your team is simultaneously focused on other initiatives. 

However, as powerful as Epic optimizations can be, if you don't tell users what you're doing or how they should use the system in a new way and train them on the process, adoption will suffer. Users will do the same thing they've always done, the same way they've always done it. A consistent change management cycle is key to driving adoption and changing behaviors. When users understand when to expect changes, how to digest those changes, and how to adopt those changes, optimizations can produce the intended impact.  

For best results, maintain a consistent cycle so that users get used to the cadence of different optimization and maintenance efforts. Short- and long-term understanding of the goals, the purpose, and the benefits of the changes could go far to drive adoption and reap the value of an optimization effort.

3. Let go of apprehension and strategize with trusted peers, leadership, and partners.

Change can sometimes come with apprehension and mixed feelings. For example, did you begin ramping up for a product only to learn that your organization is no longer going in that direction? Help your organization achieve what’s best by acknowledging any emotions or disappointment. Then, lean into objectivity so your perspective is clearer, which will help you determine how the progress you’ve made thus far can contribute to your continued success.  

Collaborate with trusted peers or leadership on an approach to the new change, especially if the initial groundwork that was laid needs to be re-evaluated. Not only will strategizing together help build a solid new foundation but it will also create the opportunity to serve as a sounding board for one another. Perhaps one person’s con is seen as a pro by another, and the exchange of ideas can further advance the group as a whole. Try asking questions to learn more about why the decision was made and the rationale for selecting a new product. Look for potential benefits to the direction that you were previously unaware of. 

Consider how the basics (a solid communication plan, change management method, consistent maintenance cycles, and, for Epic optimizations, terminology awareness) build community and understanding to drive adoption. With the basics in place, both basic and “flashy” optimizations can happen, driving forward that journey of configuring systems in a way that engages patients and providers.  

Bottom line  

Whether a change in your IT landscape comes from within your organization or from the outside, processing change and leading through it can sometimes be more difficult than the technology change itself. CereCore is ready to be your trusted partner and help you navigate the winding road of change. Get a glimpse into what partnership with us is like through this client’s journey through change.

For more information on change management and optimizing your Epic EHR implementation, listen to our podcast titled Why EHR Optimization is Worth the Effort and Budget. 

Updated from original publication date in June 2021 

About the Author:
Stephanie Murray

Senior Director, Epic Services, CereCore

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