Clinicians on-board! Healthcare IT/IS Change Resistance.

Updated: February 10, 2011

Clinicians must be involved prior to the implementation phase of a project. It's important to identify a Clinician that will serve as a team leader in your project and work and identify the concerns and needs of other clinicians. Be careful not to choose the Clinician that is going to focus and want to correct only their own personal concerns or that of their particular group or colleagues. You should select this individual based upon their interpersonal skills, attitude towards technology, and their ability to identify with and act upon the needs of all other Clinicians. If anything, you've at least acknowledged that you don't know everything, their input is important, and that the users of the system are truly stakeholders in the project.

Change management is paramount when dealing with the implementation of clinical applications and systems that affect clinicians and their workflow. After all, things are going to change when you implement the new system and frankly, what they are currently comfortable with has most likely worked well for many years. You can't just come in, plug it in, and support them at go-live. In order to manage change, you must identify what it is that's going to be changing. Ensure that Clinicians expect and understand the changes that will be occurring during implementation and have a clearly defined pre and post workflow as a reference for end-users if they need a reference. There's nothing worse than surprises during an implementation on a new system coupled with the stresses and expectations of patient care.

Defining Clinician roles is paramount when addressing changes that will affect Clinicians. Users must have an understanding of what they are supposed to be doing in the new system prior to go-live. Each Clinician should have a strong understanding of what individual piece they are responsible for in the system, such as data-entry, finalized reports, etc.

Clinicians must understand their impact, this takes defining Clinician roles steps further to not only tell them what to do but to also tell them why. By taking the extra time to explain to the Clinician why it is that you're asking them to do something will increase compliance and will help the Clinician further understand their role and impact. For example, don't simply tell a Physician that after they've completed a procedure they must go into the system and complete their report and sign it. Further explain to the Physician that the report must be electronically signed after the procedure because it is then electronically distributed based upon his signature, electronically completes the order in the electronic patient chart, sends the results out to the Referring and Primary Care Physician, and also charges the procedure with the correct date of service. If the Physician understands the impact they have on other departments or process, compliance will increase and end-users will better understand their impact and roles. You need to take it a step further and always make it a point to ensure that your end-users understand the ‘why' component, you'll be glad you took the time to explain it.

Lastly, accountability must be addressed if you expect to succeed with your new implementation. Since Clinicians were involved early on in the planning phase of the project, they should be expected to be team members and should be held accountable to a certain level of cooperation during and after implementation.

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