When it comes to revamping an organization’s front office, the difference between success and failure often hinges on one key characteristic: the change management skills of the leader who spearheads the project.
Becoming a master of change management isn’t easy, but the rewards are plentiful. My experience working with hospitals and physician organizations points to three best practices.
1. Gain staff input during the planning stage.
One healthcare leader who is a master of change management knew she needed to reduce wait times at her organization, so she created a steering committee composed of staff throughout the organization—including front-desk staff—to evaluate ways to improve front-desk processes. From the start, staff understood the compelling reason for change and bought into the action steps for improvement. Team members then worked together to select technology that would achieve the organization’s objective.
2. Hold mini-training sessions for patients.
When new patient-facing technologies are rolled out, host an open house or a series of educational sessions where patients can try out the new systems before go-live. Once the new system is implemented, look for ways to recognize staff and patients for their commitment to the initiative, such as an award for the 100th patient who uses the new system or the staff member who goes above and beyond in training patients and staff. This will generate excitement and good will for all involved.
3. When the initiative shows signs of faltering, hit the pause button and regroup.
Determine where problems exist and reintroduce the initiative to staff, if needed, and to patients. Provide additional training, and send a letter to patients sharing why the initiative is important and how it will benefit patients. Then, relaunch the initiative after increasing the comfort level of all involved.
Worth the Investment
In an era of innovation in healthcare, teams need to trust in their leaders’ ability to guide the organization through transformative change. Taking the time to explain the basis for change, gain feedback from staff, and secure buy-in from all key stakeholders will support a positive experience for both patients and staff.
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