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5 Best Practices for Software and Device Rollouts in Healthcare

Physician using tabletThe effectiveness of a software or device rollout hinges on having — and executing — a comprehensive launch plan.


Nearly every sector has been transformed by technology, and the healthcare industry is no exception. Healthcare organizations large and small have become increasingly reliant on software and devices that streamline operations and boost patient satisfaction. But while some digital tools like patient rounding devices, scheduling platforms, and charting systems are often implemented by choice, many others are not.


For example, in 2016 Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which included an Electronic Visit Verification mandate requiring Medicaid-funded home health agencies to implement an electronic system for verifying details like the start and end times of service visits and the names of patients who receive care. Through this system, Congress hopes to crack down on Medicaid fraud — a costly crime that impacts patients and providers alike.


But as healthcare organizations navigate this shifting digital landscape, they must keep one thing in mind: a new software program or device is only as effective as its launch strategy. Haphazard plans and plug-and-play schemes won’t always get the job done. Every rollout must be backed by a leadership team that keeps these best practices top of mind:


1. Assess the Full Impact of a New Software Program or Device


Change has a ripple effect. Before launching new software or devices, healthcare leaders must assess how these tools will impact not only day-to-day users, but also all other affected parties. Consider, for example, the rollout of automated IV pumps designed to help nurses control patients’ medication dosages. If these devices help nurses spend less time changing medications, how does that impact their daily schedule and the schedules of the support staff they work with? These are the questions healthcare leaders must address before a new device is implemented. Examining the secondary or tertiary effects of new devices in a rigorous way will help leaders put more robust launch plans into place.


2. Implement a Comprehensive Training Strategy


What good is a new software program or device if no one knows how to use it? Designing and delivering a comprehensive training strategy helps employees absorb critical information on the best practices pertaining to specific products, allowing them to reap the full benefits of the new tools at their disposal. Video tutorials, hands-on workshops, and in-person lectures are all important elements of the training process. But remember: the work isn’t over once all current employees have been trained. A healthcare organization’s onboarding policies must include training processes that bring new employees up to speed, as well.


3. Build a Culture of Transparency and Explanation


Employees who are repeatedly exposed to new policies, practices, and devices quickly tire from watching each change come and go. They grow apathetic to new initiatives, failing to believe they have any value (this phenomenon is known as change fatigue). Healthcare leaders can prevent change fatigue by demonstrating why new software or devices are important, as opposed to implementing them with little explanation.


Consider this hypothetical: a hospital launches a new patient scheduling platform designed to notify support staff when it’s time to contact patients. During the rollout, leaders explain how this tool helped an employee in a neighboring clinic prevent a patient from missing a critical chemo appointment. The hospital’s staff internalizes this story and, seeing the value in the software, begins putting it to use in their own practice. Through thoughtful explanations like this, organizational leaders can shift cultural beliefs within the workplace and foster employee buy-in for new software and device rollouts.


4. Set and Communicate Timelines


Timelines are a crucial part of any rollout because they help healthcare leaders stay focused, track progress, and follow a logical sequence of events. A detailed rollout timeline will outline everything from initial communications and training processes to actual launch and review periods. But while detail and structure are essential parts of an effective timeline, so is flexibility. It’s rare for a rollout to go exactly as planned, and leaving some wiggle room in the timeline helps leaders adjust as needed when delays arise.


Once a timeline has been established, communication is key. The more employees are kept in the loop regarding a new technology rollout, the smoother the transition will be. Town halls, e-blasts, and one-on-one meetings are all great ways to spread information about an upcoming rollout.


5. Solicit Feedback from End Users


A rollout isn’t complete once a new software program or device is in the hands of employees. Healthcare leaders must actively seek feedback from all individuals impacted by the new tool. This input will allow them to identify and address any adoption roadblocks employees are facing and any concerns patients may be having. It also serves as an opportunity to check in on exactly how software/devices are being used. Are all the appropriate settings in place? Are software updates occurring consistently? Healthcare leaders need to know.


Reaping the Benefits of the Digital Era


New medical devices and software continue to emerge with tremendous frequency, many being hailed as “the next big thing” in healthcare. While many of these resources have the power to facilitate transformational change, to do so, they must be accepted and leveraged by employees across the board. Of course, employees will only adopt platforms that work efficiently and effectively, free from glitches that disrupt their daily routines.


This is where HIPAA-compliant, tier 1 and 2 tech support comes into play. Epiphany Management Group helps medical software and device providers seamlessly transition their tools from the product shelf to the hospital floor. If end users have questions or concerns at any point, Epiphany is there to provide 24/7 support. That means developers can focus on what they do best — developing innovative new solutions — while Epiphany takes care of the rest.

 

If you are a medical software or device provider looking for an experienced, HIPAA-compliant remote support partner, contact us today to learn more!