At Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, we saw an opportunity to improve upon our care delivery by implementing a secure and efficient clinical communications solution to ensure that a message was delivered to the right person at the right time no matter what method was used.
Making these changes required us to get clinicians to embrace the new procedures that would guarantee all messages were delivered and received in the proper manner. The process required more than IT changes, it meant creating a cultural shift among clinicians and employees who were already facing busy schedules and had little time for additional training.
We followed a four step approach to get clinicians on board and embrace the change:
- Raise awareness – The first step was to work with clinicians to help them understand there was room for communication improvement in our hospital or health system in general. If clinicians could see how previous methods of communication were bogging them down and affecting the overall flow and efficiency, we felt they would be more likely to help implement a change.
- Calm fears – It can be difficult to mobilize an entire staff that may be used to the “old way” of doing things and are fearful of potentially new issues such as “alert fatigue” or learning a new technology. It was important to get everyone on board and familiar with the new process so the transition would be smooth. We found the best way to accomplish this was to be transparent, keeping everyone informed and educated.
- Remind them of the benefits – During any implementation, it can be easy to get discouraged. The best way to stay the course is to remind clinicians why they are doing this. The answer is simple: to ensure that people can connect in a timely manner, ultimately improving workflow which improves patient care and healthcare provider satisfaction.
- Set the standard – As with any new endeavor, the path from implementation to seasoned veteran is comprised of a series of trial and error. Along the way, we realized that we needed to identify which physicians were necessary to be copied on all alerts and who should be the point person for coordinating these messages, among other things. What once was a foreign concept is now the standardized process that is well-ingrained in our community.
Change does require time, but education and transparency during transition times will help the process go smoothly. Hospitals and health systems today need to embrace the new frontier of healthcare through organized and secure communication methods, where patient care and physician satisfaction will always remain the heart of these organizations.
In the comments below, tell us how you’re embracing change.