I believe these users are frustrated with technology, which contributes to the myth that they are afraid. How can they be fearful of technology when they use it with ease in their everyday lives i.e. mobile phones, TVs, laptops, smart watches? The difference between these tools and the technology used in their organizations is usually stemming from configuration, communication or training gaps, which lead to dissatisfaction.
Understanding this is an issue of dissatisfaction rather than fear, the question throughout many organizations I work with remains the same: How do organizations overcome technology-related frustration within their staff?
Engage your staff in decisions Start by involving staff representatives in initial technology decisions. Consider creating a technology steering committee that speaks on behalf of the users accessing the technology on a daily basis. If you’re not meeting the day-to-day needs of your staff through your technology today, anything new will mostly contribute to the frustration. Ask them questions such as which areas they’d like to see improvement, what kind of support they would like to have, and what their daily challenges are. Understanding your staff members’ world and pain points is essential to convey to technology vendors. If staff are involved in decision making, and the technology is configured to work with your business, they are more apt to embrace the technology.
Explain how the technology will be used It is important to clearly define how your staff will be using the new technology. I have found the average case manager really just wants to know what button to press to complete the treatment plan. Determining how technology will be used requires focused attention on the desired result. For example, if an organization’s service delivery model requires a new client registration process be completed in less than five minutes, then the technology must support that process and business necessity. Set expectations of use for the staff and leverage the relationship with your technology partner to make sure your systems are configured to work in harmony with your workflows. Be specific with your technology partner about performance and expected results. Technology should be designed to make life better for your team, not harder. Make sure you select solutions that are flexible enough to work the way your team works.
Train your staff thoroughly A major contributor to staff frustration is lack of training. If an individual doesn’t understand how to properly use the technology, it’s only going to make their job more difficult. Your staff should be confident and comfortable with the new tools before they are expected to implement them into their daily workflow. Ensure there is role-based training available through implementation and beyond. Periodically assessing performance can also help your team by alerting you to any gaps that may exist with one or multiple users. Assigning them the creation of a treatment plan or self-evaluation through eLearning tools to identify their comfort levels with technology is one way to track staff technology proficiency on a regular basis.
Identify a support system Accessible end user support should be available to your staff during hours of operation. If you operate 24/7, you need to ensure you have end user support available. In addition, your IT team needs to have a good understanding of the work your staff does in order to properly support them if the technology isn’t functioning properly. Knowing they have a reliable support contact in place can bring comfort and help your staff avoid frustration and errors. Your help desk can also help you identify end users who could benefit from additional training. If the team is receiving a large number of tickets from certain individuals or teams, you may want to consider scheduling additional training for those user(s).
Continue to evaluate As you move forward with new technology, ask yourself and your staff if it’s working for you, or if it’s being used to its full potential. Part of your leadership strategy should be continuing to reevaluate the organization’s needs and if the technology is meeting them. There is often a heavy focus on implementation, but little focus on ongoing use. Keep evaluating post implementation to support evolving needs and industry standards. Think not about what you need today, but what you want your organization to look like in the future.
Technology is no longer optional for healthcare organizations. In order to remain competitive, provide holistic care and create efficiencies, healthcare providers must look to technology and navigate how it best fits into their operation.
The idea that clinicians are afraid of technology is simply a myth. It’s not that they are scared of the tools, rather they’re frustrated with how they impact their jobs when not aligned properly. Through preparation, training, expectations and partnership, organizations can leverage new technology in ways that both enhances care delivery and minimizes clinical burden without causing frustration.
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