Planning for change

There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction” - Winston Churchill

Progressive healthcare Practice Managers are constantly looking at ways to improve efficiencies and services.

Changes in the healthcare system can often be thrust upon us or self imposed and facilitating change can often be a daunting task. However, successful implementation can only be supported by a strong plan, and a commitment from those employees who are directly impacted.

As an example, practices looking to change their Practice Management Software can adopt a number of strategies in order to facilitate a smooth transition with minimal disruption to operations. Strategies might include the following:

• Consider who will be affected by the changes, how they will react and respond by running a communication event or practice meeting to explain the changes.

• Understand that adapting to change varies between individuals – some may never adapt!

• Assess current infrastructure (e.g. incompatibility between new software and existing equipment).

• Set a date for implementation and keep staff regularly updated as the time approaches.

• Design a training checklist should address each individuals role – to ensure all their essential tasks are covered in the training session

• Facilitate a training session prior to implementation so staff are not ‘learning on the fly’ – some providers can supply a demo disk, which can be an invaluable training tool prior to implementation

• Develop a checklist of all the templates used in the current system to ensure all are reformatted in the new system

• Printout aged debtors for inputting into the new system

• Checklist of the pathology and radiology companies to ensure all of these are re-installed and functioning Despite all the best laid plans, Murphy’s Law (if anything can go wrong it will) may still apply. Ensure possible worse-case scenarios are discussed and planned for. The benefits of change may not always be instantly identified/ delivered, however are often accrued over time.

Author: Deana Scott