Why is change so hard? (Shh … It’s not)

With 16 total years in the healthcare sector, I have experienced a lot of change. Whether it is the constant change of healthcare technology, process changes, or even the new mobile phones issued every two years by employers, change is inevitable, yet many of us struggle to keep up.

Why is that?

I’m definitely not qualified to go into the psychology behind how some people thrive on change while others do not, or why people act the way they do when they must change. All I know is from my observations working and living through it. For many of us, our jobs are all about helping people change: To improve how they do their work, become more efficient, or utilize software better. It is a great feeling to show people how to do things differently so they can achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.

That is, until there is resistance.

Communication: The key to successful change management

Resistance occurs at different levels in the organization, but generally, it is mid to lower-level management that experiences the most, whether from their teams or the leaders themselves. For instance, the CIO of a health system discovers the platform approach for major information technology areas, such as the EMR, ERP or content management systems. She  begins to communicate these initiatives to the leaders who report to her, focusing on the benefits of the changes. The leaders directly impacted by the change immediately begin to rationalize the change – both with themselves and with their teams.

That’s why  good leaders manage change by starting with open communication with their teams. Others, less open to change, might begin to dig in and build walls that prevent these new directives from becoming successful.

These leaders and teams that put up the resistance have a standard phrase that they like to use, “We’ve always done it this way.”

If this notion is not contained, it can cause slow or low adoption of major health system initiatives and can have additional budgetary impacts, such as cost overruns from missed implementation deadlines and re-engineering.

Since moving from a healthcare institution to a healthcare vendor, these change management experiences have only become more apparent to me – and my team is on the front lines. We have found that by involving change agents in the initial stages of our implementation processes, we are able to help both the leaders who embrace change and those who need additional help.

This occurs by leveraging our experienced team that guides the areas that are impacted by the change and helping leaders and their teams understand how their business practices will change and how some will remain the same.

By speaking the business units’ language and conveying how the processes can be set up, we not only build relationships, but trust at all levels of the business units as we guide them to success by providing best practices for their particular areas.

The process is not perfect, since so much depends on the leaders and their teams being open to change. We have observed that those customers we provide business consulting for at the beginning of the platform implementation have a higher success rate of adopting the new technology and processes.

So let’s work together to build your platform and help your organization achieve more by providing change management where it will have the most impact – by providing you with the information your staff needs to provide the best care possible.

K.C. Van Voorhis

K.C. Van Voorhis

K.C. Van Voorhis brings more than 16 years of healthcare information technology experience to his role as a healthcare customer adviser at Hyland. With and understanding of technical environments, customer software usage, business process optimization, interoperability and meaningful use, K.C. works with customers to provide optimizations around software utilization and support structure setup to enable successful usage and management of the OnBase platform.

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