What Could Derail the Technology Initiative at Your Hospital?
Like every other industry, the healthcare industry has become extremely serious about leveraging the power of technology to keep the patients at the center of care. Hospitals and healthcare institutions are looking for new technologies that can help them reduce costs, improve operations, enhance the quality of care, and help in increasing patient satisfaction.
Adoption of technology is no more a good-to-have – it has become a must-have for hospitals. However, the adoption of any technology means bringing in “change”. Change is never easy. It is messy and hard to implement. According to various studies, about 60 to 80 percent of significant change initiatives fail. Ever wondered why this happens? It is indeed not for the lack of motivation or good intentions. After all, it is frustrating for an organization which has implemented an improvement initiative to have costs, errors or inefficiencies creep in again.
Now speaking of the challenges that can derail the technology initiatives at your hospital, it is often the unseen barriers that can hinder even the most sort out plans. If these barriers are not identified and addressed early in the process, they can make create menace.
Let’s take a look at some of these barriers –
Lack of Vision and Goals
More often than not, hospitals put in a lot of focus on deployment and implementation of new technologies but tend to forget that it all starts with a vision. The leadership teams need to have a strong vision as to why the organization is adopting the technology, what does it want to achieve, what is the timeframe, what is the implementation plan, and so on. In the absence of this thorough thinking, it can just become a IT project and not a Digital Transformation.
Adopting new technology at your hospital is a challenging endeavor. This is because its success depends on various factors such as processes, communication practices, attitudes, and assumptions, changing roles and setting goals. A technology initiative in a hospital is a large-scale undertaking, and eventually, all of the leadership tools for changing minds will need to be utilized. The reason most hospitals fail to deploy technology smoothly is that they lack leadership support. A vision of the future, cementing the change in place with management tools, such as role definitions, measurement, and control systems is required to deploy any new technology successfully.
Incorrect Choice of Technology
AI, ML, IoT, Blockchain, AR, VR – every day, we hear about how such emerging technologies can transform our lives. But while technology drives healthcare, for it to be useful, it must be relevant to your setup. A mistake most hospitals make is adopting technology for the sake of it, even though their set up (size, staff, location) does not support it. The first step for hospitals is to identify the problems they want to solve through technology and then decide on the technology that can best solve those.
Technology not Adapting to Hospital Workflows
Workflows are essentially the processes and methods developed over the years to keep the hospital working well. These usually tend to work fine in optimal times. In hospitals, as in other industries, some workflows are created and specifically outlined, while others emerge organically and evolve. Most often, when workflow processes are analyzed in a silo, they appear entirely appropriate and aid in accomplishing the end goal. However, it is in their interaction with other methods and technologies that complexities arise. Technology initiatives are often derailed because they fail to work well with the hospital’s existing workflows.
Cyber Security Threats
Due to high-profile data breaches, the proliferation of IoT, and the growing adoption of technology in healthcare, there has been a significant focus on cybersecurity in recent years. As hospitals increase their focus on technology, there are new risks and threats to plan for. Health care as an industry is highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks due to the enormous amount of personal data exchanged on a regular basis. While adopting new technology initiatives at your hospital, you need to be prepared to avoid such breaches and attacks.
Resistance from Staff
One of the most common problems that come in the way of adopting new technology is resistance. It comes in the form of a drop in the productivity, and sometimes even a refusal to adapt to the latest technology. Instead of focusing and working hard to learn how to use new technology, staff members often tend to avoid it. This lack of buy-in from members of the staff is caused by fear about the impact the change will have on them and their job. This, however, often happens unconsciously. Rather than overcoming that fear, the best solution is to avoid allowing it to breed in the first place. To accomplish this, you must involve all those who will be affected by the new technology in the decision-making process. Encouraging active participation is the easiest way to increase adoption and lower resistance to new technologies.
Lack of Proper Budget Allocation
Budget allocation is another factor that could derail a technology initiative. Releasing funds for investing in technology is one of the biggest challenges faced while deploying new technology in hospitals. Budget holders face challenges such as identifying the most beneficial allocation of money at any given time, while also evaluating which investments will provide the best returns in short as well as the long term. This process, in turn, can tend to derail the initiative. One of the ways to handle this goes back to the first point mentioned above – identify the goals you want to achieve through technology implementation, define the plan, define the measurement metrics, and closely monitor those. Have phase-wise implementations. Once the RoI is realized for the initial phases, it is not hard to get additional budget allocations.
Embarking on a change initiative in a hospital may feel daunting at first, but if you focus on streamlining the process, and taking care of the factors mentioned above, then you will significantly increase your chances at succeeding in the endeavor. The importance of strong leadership cannot be overemphasized as it is one of the critical elements for effectively driving a change initiative. Leaders must abandon adherence to outdated management models and must first embrace change themselves.