INTERVIEW ESSAY

Why Implementing a New Healthcare Technology can be a Negative Experience and how to avoid it in Future

Introduction

Healthcare leaders or project managers should not consider the adoption of a new technology to improve quality of patient care at reduced cost being different from the change processes that organizations are expected to make continually. Every step of the change process is important to achieve success. Change processes differ from one organization to another in terms of how the change performs. The organizations that succeed in their change processes or technological adoptions are those that work as a team in understanding the organizational problems to be solved, having a vision, selecting the best technology, having a suitable plan to guide the implementation process, and regularly evaluating it. The firms that fail in adopting medical technologies assume their benefits by choosing to adopt those technologies that are commonly used but which fail to be applicable in solving their needs. Assumed technological benefits mess up the change process right from its initial stage. An interview with a healthcare leader to determine the experience he has had with the implementation of a new technology he had selected is used to develop the essay. Using the interview findings and issues discussed by existing literatures are used to enrich and conclude the study.

Determining why healthcare leaders fail in making use of better technologies to improve quality of patient care

Healthcare leaders are in need of improving the quality of patient care at reduced costs and they tend to value a lot the information they get from exhibitions, conferences, friends, suppliers, and published literatures about medical technologies. To adopt a new technology in healthcare is considered as an organizational change where the organizational needs are identified, the executives are convinced why the selected technology is best to approve it, change agents are identified to lead the implementation process, and employees are trained. Therefore, without a proper change process, the implementation may fail due to budgetary constraints or the technology may not be fully used due to poor training. That is, a technology may perform highly at one organization and poorly at another. Proper planning is essential to ensure a good implementation process. In addition, conducting regular evaluations of the implementation process to identify any deviations from the project goals is necessary in order to address them early enough. However, that last step is usually missed and that negatively affects the implementation process (Langhan, et al., 2014). 

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The varying implementation processes of new medical technologies that cause differences in their performance among various organizations explain why not all technologies such as the electronic health records systems (EHR) despite their known benefits are slowly being adopted by healthcare firms (Lorenzi, et al., 2009). In the healthcare industry, there is an increasing concern as to why there are no quality improvements at the time when new technologies have been developed with promises to address the identified quality needs. Based on the information gathered from interviewing project managers, there are many other significant challenges (such as resistance to the intended change, lack of experience and the necessary skills, and others) that cannot be ignored (Leonard-Barton & Kraus, 2018).  Leonard-Barton & Kraus (2018) find that among all the challenges, the main one is to convince people to accept and support the change, as the healthcare industry requires of them today. To achieve that, the first thing, project managers need to ensure that they are working with the right people with the right mindset. Thereafter, is to make sure that people have confident that the change will work to bring better outcomes and win support from the organization’s top leadership. Another important thing to do is to employ the technology where it is needed and simplify its use for everyone to understand how it makes work easier and have a positive attitude towards it.

What Project Managers should avoid to ensure Successful Implementations of New Medical Technologies

Just as for any organizational change, a new technology should not be perceived as the one that will fully address organizational needs but one that is there to be integrated with other existing systems to improve their value to the organization. Another problem is having the habit of choosing to adapt a system just because another organization is using it. That practice may fail the organization when change agents object to the change when they find it has a lower value for the organization. Project managers also should not limit the efforts of the change agents and the employees to owning the change process. Rather, they should empower them and allow them to see how the implementation process can fit with their working needs. Otherwise, the project managers would be imposing a foreign process on them, which might not be compatible with how they work. 

Cresswell, Bates & Sheikh (2013) establish that many technologies in the healthcare industry are being procured based on assumed advantages that are not clearly specified. By doing this, the change process is failed because there lacks a clear vision. Assumed advantages are not easy to measure and that affects the project’s goals and objectives. The best way to go is to identify which existing problems that the targeted technology is to solve, which particular improvements are anticipated, and that is done by a team of persons that agree on the vision of the intended change. In addition, project managers need to be aware that not all existing problems can be solved with the use of technologies and therefore, it is important for them to determine the extent to which the advanced solutions are needed to cut down costs. When technological solutions are needed, project managers need to consider what options are there and select the best technology that addresses the organizational problem better and cost effectively.

Conclusion

Every healthcare organization, just like any other company in a different industry, needs to be quick in making organizational changes, as the industrial conditions demand them. Technologies can help a lot in enabling organizations become more flexible to the changes but how the technologies are selected and introduced into the company can affect their successes in the organization. Project managers need to create a favorable environment within the organization that embraces the use of the new technology. That environment is comprised of people with the right skills, attitude, and knowledge, and the people are empowered to own the implementation of the technology. In addition, teamwork is needed to understand how the technology helps in achieving common goals. Thus, besides gaining approval from the top managers, leaders need to work out the change process from the operations level to the strategic level of the organization. By doing that, project managers ensure that the new technology is the right one to solve the problem at hand and the employees needed to use it can easily operate it.  

References

Cresswell, K. M., Bates, D. W. & Sheikh, A. (2013). Ten key considerations for the successful implementation and adoption of large-scale health information technology. J. Am. Med. Inform. Assoc., 20(e1), e9-13. Doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2013-001684.

Langhan, M. L., Riera, A., Kurtz, J. C., Schaeffer, P. and Asnes, A. G. (2014). Implementation of newly adopted technology in acute care settings: A qualitative analysis of clinical staff. Journal of Medical Engineering Technology, 39(1), 44-53. Doi: 10.3109/03091902.2014.973618.

Leonard-Barton, D. & Kraus, W. A. (2018). Implementing new technology. Retrieved< https://hbr.org/1985/11/implementing-new-technology>.Lorenzi, N. M., Kouroubali, A., Detmer, D. E. & Bloomrosen, M. (2009). How to successfully select and implement electronic health records (EHR) in small ambulatory practice settings. BMC Medical Informatics & Decision Making, 9(15). Doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-9-15.

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