Our team has written before about the importance of technology adoption to future competitive advantage and sustainability in the field. There is technology to facilitate better clinical decision making (see The Why & The How Of Clinical Decision Support; technology to support analytics for metrics-based performance management (see Coming Up With The Next Big Thing); a whole range of new treatment technology (see Planning Your Treatment Tech Investment); and technology to extend the workforce (see Using Tech Tools To Build A High-Performing Organization). For more on the range of technology products in the health and human service field, check out HealthTechNavigator.org.
There is a big gap, however, between the initial process of selecting and purchasing the technology and the challenge of implementing and then optimizing it to improve organizational operations and market competitiveness. Optimization is a function of both planning and staffing. Fortunately, it is possible to build a tech-savvy staff to leverage your tech investments.
During The 2019 OPEN MINDS Management Best Practices Institute session, Going From Tech Tolerant To Tech Savvy: How Managerial Staff Can Directly Impact The Adoption Of Technology, Katie Morrow, Vice President of Compliance, Streamline Healthcare Solutions, laid out how to maximize the use of your organization’s tech investments by enhancing your organization’s culture and staff’s buy-in. The key—battle your staff’s underlying assumptions. Ms. Morrow explained:
How many executives know what the assumptions are? It’s easy to figure out. Listen to your staff, and what are they saying about the tech. What stories are they sharing? What behaviors are you rewarding and which ones are you ignoring? Those will play a big factor in the success of your tech adoption.
Many provider organization executives think they know how to do this because they have implemented tech (for more on those processes check out Can Someone (Or Something) Make Sense Of The Notes In Your EHR? and Getting That Return On Your Tech Investment), but successfully moving through those phases of tech integration and fully realizing your tech’s value demands an additional set of skills that Ms. Morrow labeled the six “E’s”—Eyes on the Future; Educate; Encourage; Excite; Evaluate; and Empower.
Eyes on the Future—A leader with a vision is great, and a leader that can communicate that vision is even better. When it comes to maximizing a technology investment, setting direction and priorities doesn’t end after the tech is “adopted.” A tech-savvy culture continues to make investments in the vision to keep their strategy on point, and meet fast-paced (and fast-changing) objectives (see For ‘Agile’ Organizations, Change Management IS Performance Management and Are You A Change Agent Leader? Take The Test).
Educate—When implementing new tech, the motto “Train, train and train some more” applies to both the implementation phase, as well as the long-term culture necessary to support continued use of the tech. Because no good came from tech that was implemented and forgotten, it’s key to evaluate which parts of the tech aren’t being used to best effect, and seek improvements through education (see Staff Vacancies Just Got A Little More Important & Complicated and 4 Ways To Retain & Grow Millennial Employees).
Encourage—Celebrate successes as they happen and recognize the good skills that the team has brought to the table. This is also a good time to build on the assumptions that predominated previous to the new adoption, guiding staff to a updated and better way to understand the new tools (see Five Strategies For Retaining Your Workforce and How Do You Engage Employees & Improve Performance?).
Excite—Lots of leaders have a vision, but without staff buy-in, it’s hard to build the necessary excitement and momentum to carry the day. The best way to achieve this is to constantly communicate the WHY of the vision, so that none of the team loses sight of the goal (see Who Do You Need To Lead An Agile Organization? and Implementing A Strategic Plan? Go From Vision To Project Plan).
Evaluate—It sounds simple to “look for problems and identify solutions,” but to truly do this, executives needs to tap into the power of metrics-based management. If you aren’t tracking your team’s and tech’s performance through metrics, you have no honest answer to the questions: how are you performing and what will it take to improve that performance? This is about driving your organization’s mission and biggest goals (see Using Tech Tools To Build A High-Performing Organization and When New Contracts Mean New Technology: 4 Things To Remember).
Empower—Provider organizations need to make sure that staff remains engaged by understanding how their work positively affects the success of both the new tech and the whole organization. A great way to do this is to empower staff by seeking (and possibly using) their ideas on how adjustments in adoption, strategy, or tech use can improve outcomes (see Best Practice Leadership Is Leadership With Analytics and Staff Is Your Biggest Investment & Your Greatest Asset – Unless They Burnout).
For more thoughts on just how critical technology is to every aspect of an organization, check out these resources in The OPEN MINDS Circle Library:
- Digital Transformations Demand Digital Dexterity
- The Three Trends That Are ‘Top Of Mind’ In 2019 For The OPEN MINDS Team
- Your Digital Tech Integration Checklist
- When New Contracts Mean New Technology: 4 Things To Remember
- ‘Productizing’ Services For Competitive Success
- Thinking About Partnering With A Tech Start-Up?
- Failure To Launch
- Moving Out Of Your Comfort Zone: The VBR Technology Continuum
- Are You Strategically Interoperable?
- Using Virtual Care To Improve Your Value Proposition: Best Practices In Integrating Technology Into Your Community-Based Program
For more, join OPEN MINDS Senior Associate David E. Wawrzynek on October 28 for his Executive Seminar, “How To Implement New Technology Effectively: An OPEN MINDS Seminar On Best Practice Technology Implementation For Maximum Return,” as part of The 2019 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute.