Digital transformation continues to enhance the world of healthcare. Medical staff, administrators and patients all benefit from new technologies that improve patient care and streamline business efficiency.
So why are so many projects unsuccessful? An estimated 60 - 70% of healthcare technology projects fail, causing enormous costs, low user satisfaction (or even boycott) and loss of confidence on all sides.
These failures are often attributed to the technology itself, but in fact are more a factor of how the projects are communicated with staff. Research has proven communication in healthcare to be an important condition in creating high levels of technology user acceptance.
So what’s the prognosis for your facility? How will better healthcare communication enable successful technology deployment and adoption?
1. Visualize It
It’s well-known that people retain only 10-20% of written or spoken information, but almost 65% of visual information. Bring new technology to life by visually showcasing it in advance.
However detailed or process-focused your digital transformation is, it can always be represented visually. Video is an ideal format – it conveys information and engages employees faster than most other methods. Use of visuals improves learning by up to 400%.
Visualizing new technology is important for improving staff understanding of what’s happening. It reduces their fear of the unknown and generates genuine interest.
2. Believe In It
Change always breeds uncertainty. It’s natural for staff to fixate on the process of change, instead of the purpose. Their concerns about the impact to their jobs and patient safety often manifest as resistance.
Communicating effectively can refocus employee attention on the endgame, not the journey of change. Emphasize the major features of the new technology and the benefits it will deliver. Involvement, not just instruction, is essential to gain staff interest and commitment.
Remind them of the shared vision – why the change is necessary and how it will improve patient care. Summarize the latest progress made through digital newsletters or similar channels that help build belief with every update.
3. Experience It
User experience is key to any successful technology launch. A poorly-designed interface or cumbersome process will see adoption rates plummet. Staff are simply too busy to expend the time and effort required.
A framework developed by BMC Medical for healthcare systems states that IT adoption depends on the fit between users, technology and tasks. It reveals that communication is a common theme in successful implementations.
Focus your messaging around user experience. Demonstrate how the new technology integrates into staff’s existing workflows. How will it make their job faster, easier, better?
If staff have been involved throughout the project, this will be simpler to accomplish. If they haven’t, it’s essential to gauge their response and identify areas of concern. A staff survey can quickly capture the insights you need – and provide staff a valuable outlet for any frustrations.
4. Engage With It
The demanding nature of the healthcare industry can make employee engagement difficult. Clinicians busy on wards or administrators juggling workloads are focused on their tasks. And yet, lack of engagement and communication around technology updates stifles staff support.
Encouraging engagement with new digital technology contributes to its positive adoption. Look for opportunities for staff to be involved, such as testing the new tool before launch or acting as departmental ‘champions’.
Promote training sessions that inspire and engage staff about the new tech – not just instruct them on its use. Use message recurrence in your communications to maximize attendance and ensure no-one is left out of the loop.
5. Comply With It
New technologies bring with them new requirements for network and data security. Ensuring staff knowledge of and compliance with these requirements is key to successful digital transformations.
Staff may have new processes to follow or new usage policies to adhere to. Failing to meet these could leave the organization open to operational errors, cyber-attacks and reputational damage.
Reinforce correct staff behaviors through digital signage or computer screensaver messages. Highly visual and seen throughout the day, they can be extremely effective in conveying information and lifting compliance rates.
Effective communication significantly influences successful digital transformation. For healthcare technology initiatives to achieve their goals, user adoption rates must be improved. Following the approach above will help ensure the prognosis for your project is bright.