Mobile Healthcare IT Adoption: Strategies to Secure Physician Engagement
According to the 2016 Red Hat survey, investment in mobile applications by healthcare organizations are paying off, with 78% of organizations surveyed reporting a positive return on their investment. With these positive returns, adoption of mobile healthcare applications is only expected to increase over the next year driven predominantly by demand for improvements in productivity and patient care.
Healthcare providers, however, are increasingly resistant to adopting additional new tech
nology, citing the influx of healthcare IT for the increase in physician burnout and administrative work1. Without physician engagement, success with new technology adoption is likely to decline and the positive ROIs achieved in the past will no longer be realized. How should healthcare organizations approach implementation of new technology to ensure physician adoption and thus safeguard the return on their investment?
Through our experience implementing Provident’s suite of Technology Enabled Solutions™ we have identified a few keys to securing physician adoption:
- Early Involvement
- Include physicians in decision making and planning discussions early in the process.
- In addition to the CMO and/or CMIO include representatives from the medical staff in product demonstrations and invite them to sit on the project team.
- Frame the Message
- When introducing the technology, pare down the complete list of features and benefits and focus only on those that solve problems that impact them directly; define the problems and solutions in their terms.
- Make sure to answer the question “what’s in it for me?” (e.g. Does it streamline my workflow? Reduce my administrative work? Improve patient care? Or help solve some other problem I have?)
- When introducing DocEdge® Communicator (an application to facilitate the query and referral process) to medical staff we focus only on the efficiencies gained in physician workflow; other problems the application solves for case management, CDI and HIM are saved for other leadership meetings.
- Communicate Early, Often and Through Multiple Channels
- While a strong communication plan is an obvious key to project success, take extra time to outline the communication strategy for medical staff.
- Leverage the successes and failures from other initiatives both inside and outside the organization (e.g. ask your vendor about communication strategies used by other clients).
- Utilize executive leadership and physician champions (see below) to deliver key messages throughout the project.
- Assign a Physician Champion(s)
- Efforts to involve physicians during the decision making and planning process can only go so far and even the most well thought out communication plans will have some gaps. Having an “insider”, vocal influencer, and product champion on the ground is essential to generate physician buy-in.
- At Provident we learned this the hard way. The Executive Sponsor for a small facility believed due to its small size he, alongside the HIM Director, could drive the message effectively. While the communication was “early, often and through multiple channels” the message was missing the influential voice of a physician. Adoption of the technology, while ultimately achieved, took much longer.
- Be Considerate
- Of course, always! However, this bullet specifically targets consideration around scheduling.
- Change takes time and physicians are already very busy. To engender physician engagement in and acceptance of new healthcare technology, design the roll out and education plan with their schedules in mind.
- Make training and education as time efficient and as accessible as possible by using multiple formats (e.g. classroom, webinar, on demand, drop in support center).
- Make sure your support team is available during physician friendly hours (e.g. early morning before rounds, after clinic/office hours and weekends if necessary).
- Measure and Report Results
- During the decision-making process the medical staff was informed of the problems the new technology would solve. To secure acceptance, make sure to measure and communicate the results to prove the problems were solved as promised.
- Prior to go live, agree on the performance metrics that will be used to measure success as well as a projected timeframe within which improvement will be seen.
- Gather historical data to compare against and make sure data gathering techniques remain consistent to provide an apples to apples comparison.
- Lastly, and most importantly, communicate the results!
While the success of any project is dependent on many other elements, the elements listed above are some of the keys to success for generating physician buy-in and adoption of new healthcare technology.