Feedback, Agility & The Road to Digital: Why Culture Trumps Technology Every Time
In Gartner Research’s “Healthcare Provider CIO Top Actions for 2022,” analyst Barry Runyon emphasizes the importance of a total experience (TX) strategy. Such a strategy brings everyone to the table—clinical, informatics and business stakeholders—while removing the silos that often lead to bottleneck and frustration . Runyon says this approach will “drive improvements in patient engagement and clinician satisfaction—creating superior, shared patient and clinician experiences across multiple touchpoints and channels.”
In order for an organization to achieve TX, it’s imperative to consider the key role culture plays. For many healthcare executives, especially those on the clinician side, the technology transformation is the easy part. Changing the cultural tide and getting team members on board? Therein lies the challenge. In this article, we explore three strategies for rethinking the digital journey, and take a look at how employee reactions to the transformation are more important than we think.
Strategy 1: Scrap the five-year plan
If you’re a fan of the five-year plan, listen up. In most cases, planning ahead is advantageous. Unfortunately, when it comes to healthcare technology, it’s nearly impossible to see that far into the future. The good news is, you don’t need a crystal ball. You know that technology has advanced enough to predict what might happen in the next one to two years. Everything beyond that doesn’t need your attention right now.
In order to truly embrace a growth mindset, you must focus on the factors that you and your team have the ability to change. Maybe you want to fully embrace virtual care to maximize clinicians’ time and provide more efficient care for patients. If so, consider who you might need to contact on the senior leadership team to start that conversation.
Another possibility is that you would like for patients to have a more active role in their financial decision-making. Where is the revenue cycle team headed with regard to self-pay and price transparency? Do you need to bring in a third party to help evaluate your resources and offer suggestions to make this happen more seamlessly? Regardless of what you’re trying to do in the five, ten, or even fifteen years ahead, remember that you’re capable of doing a lot with what you have right now.
Strategy 2: Remove the rock from your shoe
Muhammad Ali once said, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” Bottom line? Don’t let the distractions and voices from those outside your inner organizational circle wear you down. There will always be a naysayer, or someone who doesn’t like the course of action or feels their voice isn’t being heard. Despite this, you have to stay the course.
Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, embracing a smart technology platform to enhance patient and clinician experiences simply doesn’t happen overnight. This level of change often happens one piece of technology and one hospital room at a time. Engage your key stakeholders and gather feedback throughout the process, remembering that a holistic approach is much more beneficial than completing projects piecemeal and disappointing people along the way.
Some of the best success use cases come from leaders who are not afraid to fail fast. Figure out what works and don’t be afraid to leave behind what does not. You have to be deliberate with your goal of changing the culture of your organization more than focusing on implementing the technology itself. Ultimately, the people, providers, and patients are the indicators of what makes a given technology successful. Stay focused on your goal and set them up for the best outcomes.
Strategy 3: Ask for help, and don’t look back
There’s a misconception in our industry, as in most, that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Alternatively, those who enlist the help of an agility coach or other mentor are the ones who often yield better results. If you think you have everything figured out along your road to digitization, now might be the perfect time to raise your hand.
Finding the right coach or partner is much like finding a good pair of shoes. The fit might feel a little stiff at first, but you soon wear them in and don’t remember life without them. They’re comfortable, they provide support, and they enable you to be your best. A strong agility coach should do the same.
Regardless of the desired outcome, find a leader who has successfully led multiple implementations of what you’re trying to accomplish and let them run alongside you. It’s less important that they are in the same industry as yours, and more important that they understand the work effort and can offer guidance to achieve your goals. If you want to have a voice in the healthcare space, whether it’s improving the patient experience or reducing the pressures of employee burnout, enlisting the help of an expert who knows the ins and outs is the best place to start.
Any journey to digitization comes with its share of challenges. With clear focus on the immediate business objectives, elimination of distractions from inside and outside sources, and guidance of a trusted coach or mentor—you will reach a solid spot in the implementation process. Even with innovative and dependable technology, remember that people are your organization’s most important asset. Trust them, protect them, and let them shine. Healthcare will be better for it.
Photo: lvcandy, Getty Images