Working in healthcare, especially healthcare IT, you're likely familiar with the term integrate. In a perfect world, "coordinating a functioning or unified whole" would extend to your EMR.
Sounds great, right? You decide you want an integrated EMR, purchase it, and implement it. Suddenly, your entire organization is integrated and running on one system. Its not quite that simple.
The reality is your entire organization, across all departments, must embrace and adopt an integrated mindset. It requires much more work and discipline than simply using the same EHR. The entire patient journey must fit together seamlessly in your workflows to accomplish your goal. This absolutely requires compromise and synergy from your individual teams.
Here are some tips to help ease the pain of promoting an integrated culture in your organization:
Embrace Current State Workflow Mapping
Before you embark on your journey, you have to know where you're starting. I've found that despite the best intentions, a lot of organizations don't have their current state workflows formally mapped and reviewed.
If your organization has a Process Improvement Team, this is their chance to shine. I've worked with many Lean Six Sigma experts over the years who are incredibly skilled at identifying workflow inefficiencies. If you aren't lucky enough to have a dedicated Process Improvement Team, you can still accomplish the same goal.
Its very easy to fall into the trap of building your system around workflows that are aged or no longer best practice. Take the time to map out current workflows and review the pieces that don't seem practical. As difficult as scheduling might be, its crucial to include stakeholders from impacted teams/departments in this process.
Know Your Team's Learning Style
Learning new concepts and ideas is not one size fits all. Understand the various ways in which your team digests information. Simply stated, if you're communicating crucial project details by primarily email, you're possibly missing the mark with a large portion of your team. When you discover how your team learns best, you can adjust your approaches to their style. In today's technologically driven world, there is still a lot of value in simply calling someone to make sure you're on the same page via verbal discussion.
Lights, Cameras, Action!
If I was writing this blog post in any year other than 2020, this tip would be focused on face to face communication. However, while in person communication is still ideal and helps iron out misconceptions, confusion, and difficult conversations, not everyone has that option right now.
Encourage your team to turn on video for meetings to encourage a sense of teamwork that is not present during strictly verbal communications. The utilization of video calls helps display the non verbal part of communication such as body language that we would otherwise be missing.
I was hesitant to use video calls at first. It felt uncomfortable and frankly not genuine. However, I found that my apprehension faded and my comfort being on camera increased with practice. I strongly recommend all teams, not just those struggling with connection to utilize webcams during calls to improve the sense of comradery.
Tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack have video call features expanding access even further.
Engagement and Positivity Start at the Top
Simply stated, as a leader, you have to set a positive example for your team. To embrace the integrated mindset needed, you must push yourself out of your comfort zone and demonstrate a willingness to try new processes and make changes for your team.
The old saying "do as I say, not as I do" doesn't apply here.
If you want to make a change in your organization's culture, you have to start with yourself. When your entire leadership team agree with the goals and direction of the organization, your optimism and positivity will be contagious.
Strive for Synergy
Perhaps the most important piece of advice for an organization adopting an integrated mindset is understanding the end result will require compromise and finding a third alternative.
Synergy is better than my way or your way. It's our way.
- Stephen Covey
Your journey won't be easy or without conflict. By remembering your goal, to save lives and improve patient care, you will find the path becomes much clearer.
At IPeople, we empower healthcare organizations so they can improve patient care and save lives. We do that by developing healthcare technology solutions combined with healthcare professional services to deliver our purpose. After eighteen years, our foundation of uncompromising dedication to product reliability, service and support are still at our very core. To learn more visit www.ipeople.com