Technology has often been promised as the cure to help practices become more efficient and serve patients better. Yet to capitalize on this promise, it’s critical that the technology is actually used – and that means making sure it integrates seamlessly into physicians and nurses’ daily workflow.
At 4D Healthware, our mission is to make it easier for patients and doctors to coordinate care in one critical area – chronic disease management. We believe that with the right technology, patients can understand how data from wearable devices translates to their health, with physicians playing a supervising role and intervening only when necessary.
Here are three best practices that will help health care providers of every size transition new technology.
Educate staff on why – not just how.
Technology – even the most intuitive, user friendly software and devices – requires an upfront time investment from all staff. For medical practices familiar with certain processes and in high-stress situations, integrating technology can even seem disruptive.
A lot of time is spent (as it should be) choosing the right technology partner to make that transition as smooth as possible logistically. But even the best laid plans run into challenges. When that happens, it will help to have staff that see clearly how that specific technology can help them better treat patients and move the organization closer to achieving its mission.
Best practice: over-communicate and involve all staff early in the process (well before implementation).
Phase in big changes.
Large-scale technology projects that touch many different areas of a practice will be massive undertakings – for the IT vendor, in-house IT staff, physicians and nurses. Trying to ram through change within a short timeframe will not work well.
Instead, take time to roll out the project to a few physicians or an area of the hospital first. A practice can learn from this small-scale roll out to identify pain points and challenges, while building a group of internal champions that can aid in the full deployment later.
Best practice: identify early adopters or where the highest need is and roll out technology to those areas first.
Invest time with patients.
Just as it was important to get staff buy in, it’s important to make sure that technology deployments do not significantly impact a patient experience. Even if the technology is wholly on the staff side, the practice may still want to notify incoming patients of a change and manage expectations.
At 4D Healthware, our software touches patients directly. As such, we do all of the legwork with patients so that practices don’t have to. Our customer service team ports medical information into our system, walks patients through the setup process and even answers any ongoing questions about the platform.
But all technology vendors may not do that, so you may have to.
Best practice: If there’s any chance that patients may notice a disruption, over communicate. If the technology touches the patient, make sure that the medical practice or vendor is there to walk them through and answer every question they may have.