Implementing new software at your practice can be an overwhelming, disruptive experience. Staff may be reluctant to use the new system, or you may exceed your expected budget, or the product may not work quite like you anticipated.
Whether you’re adopting new software for your inventory, billing, or patient records, the right approach can make the transition easier for everyone. Here are four key steps to take to make your healthcare software implementation go as smoothly as possible.
1. Get buy-in across the organization.
Support for the new software should not be limited to decision-makers and management. Any employee who will use, or could be affected by, the new software should support the change.
Whether we like it or not, our decisions are usually based on emotion rather than logic. This means that many employees may resist a new software system, even if it doesn’t makes logical sense to do so. Therefore, it may be counterproductive to have your organization’s decision-makers or IT experts be the ones to explain the benefits to staff.
Instead, target the most socially influential staff members and get them invested in the new software first. Then, encourage these social leaders to advocate for the new software with other, less eager team members. When employees understand why they personally should support the changes, and how they can expect to benefit, this can reduce the risk of implementation delays and other concerns.
Staff members should not only understand the purposes behind the change, but also what will change, when and how the implementation will happen, and what will be expected of them in the process.
2. Plan ahead as much as possible.
Once you’ve chosen your vendor and software system, you can work to create a plan for implementation. If you are working with a software vendor, collaboration is vital in understanding what to expect.
A few things to include may be:
- A time frame for transitioning to the new system
- Contingency plans in case of complications or delays
- What to do with old files, systems, or equipment that will be no longer needed
- Workflow adjustments, if needed
Above all, assume that implementation will take longer than anticipated. Absent team members, software bugs, and other unexpected complications may extend the adoption process.
3. Don’t skimp on training or communication.
Employees need support from management and IT staff just as much as they need to be supportive of the new software. By the time your organization’s adoption of the new software goes live, all users should be sufficiently trained.
- Take advantage of any training materials your chosen software vendor offers
- Develop training curriculum for each department
- Check in with employees during the training process to get an idea of progress, provide guidance, and get their feedback
- Consider rolling out the software in phases to keep employees from getting overwhelmed
- Consider hiring extra, short-term staff members to help meet work demands while employees learn the new software
- Train employees only on the parts of the software they will actually use, to save time and reduce confusion
4. Be patient, flexible, and ready to improve.
Implementing new software can be a difficult process, and even the best software implementation plan may not unfold exactly as intended. Unexpected setbacks or unforeseen questions are almost guaranteed to arise.
The most supportive employees might have questions or trouble using the new software. Managers and employees should have plenty of time to get used to the change.
Keep your plan focused on the major concerns and goals, while honing the details as you go. Be prepared to make adjustments to the organizational workflow as needed.
Stay in touch with the software vendor, even after a successful implementation. An existing relationship with the software provider will not only help you keep up with regular software updates, but makes it easier to resolve any other issues that arise.
New software adoption may be daunting, but employee support, ongoing communication, flexibility, and thorough training can make the process smoother for everyone involved. Follow these steps to reduce the risk of a mishap and ensure you’re happy with the results.
About Right Way Medical
Right Way Medical provides supply, logistic, technology, biomedical and financing solutions to alternate site, long-term care and specialty pharmacy healthcare providers through an innovative suite of products and services combined with the highest level of customer service. Founded in 2014, Right Way Medical has become a trusted name in the infusion industry, and focuses everyday to continue to earn that trust and provide its customers with the ideal experience in acquiring healthcare related products and service.
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