From electronic medical records (EMRs) to finance systems to operations management tools, hospital leaders are increasingly turning to technology to find cost-effective solutions for inefficient processes. Beyond simply installing new software, successful implementation and ongoing adoption of new tools and methodologies often requires fundamental process change, which can be difficult to achieve in a hectic hospital setting.
At BedWatch, we believe that communication is paramount to the successful implementation of any new technology tool or system. There must be buy-in and engagement from the highest levels of hospital leadership down to the front-line team members in order to affect real change. We spoke with Senior Director of Implementation Brad Fellers to get his tips on ensuring a smooth and successful implementation—of technology or any new system or process—in a hospital setting.
- Schedule a Mandatory Kick-Off Call: Any successful implementation must first start with a kick-off call, which brings together all stakeholders to discuss the project goals and parameters at a high level, review implementation timelines and processes, and address any questions hospital leaders may have. It is imperative that all key stakeholders participate. During this call, select a Project Lead from the hospital team; this person will act as the primary point of contact for the duration of the project, and provides a clear line of communication between the hospital team and the new partner or service provider.
- Hold Regular Status Meetings: Both product and service implementations involve complex tasks and many moving parts, in terms of operational processes as well as technology, that must be completed within a specific timeframe. In order to ensure implementation timelines are met, it is imperative that regular status meetings are held to address any roadblocks that may arise and keep everything moving forward on schedule.
- Conduct In-depth Discovery: It is impossible to drive improvement if you don’t understand your starting point. That’s why it’s necessary to go through a highly detailed discovery process prior to any implementation, in order to determine the exact processes and tools currently in place and how new technology tools or processes will impact them. Ultimately, it all comes down to patient care, so any process changes in a hospital setting must be thoroughly vetted in order to ensure a smooth transition and maximum effectiveness.
- Set Appropriate Expectations: Part of ensuring any implementation project remains on schedule is anticipating potential roadblocks and planning in advance how to address them. The Project Lead should work closely with the technology or service provider to identify issues that may arise, and to develop a plan of action. This will ensure that small issues don’t derail the overall process, and will better prepare the entire team to “roll with the punches” and minimize down time due to unexpected hiccups.
- Be Responsive: This goes back to communication, and is true for both hospital leaders and technology or service providers—in order to achieve goals and maintain timelines, open communication and timely responses are critical. Quick responses to questions and concerns go a long way toward creating a positive perception of the implementation process and building the foundation for a strong and successful long-term partnership.
- Review Results: Implementation is only the beginning; it’s important to review performance results regularly in order to ensure ongoing compliance and effectiveness. Creating a hospital committee responsible for both the successful implementation and the ongoing adoption of new tools and processes helps promote operational consistency and ensures that any issues or changes that may arise are addressed and resolved in a timely manner.
Brad Fellers is senior Director of Implementation for BedWatch. He works closely with the rest of our Implementation team to get new BedWatch partner hospitals up-and-running, supporting Implementation efforts, conducting both remote and on-site training, and providing on-site support during “Go Live.” Brad joined BedWatch® in August of 2011 as a Director of Business Development, introducing potential hospital partners to the BedWatch patient throughput management system.
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