How an interdisciplinary effort during technology implementation ensures the subsequent harvest of benefits.
Why do we implement a technology? And how do we continuously ensure that technology creates the expected benefits? Read along in the second article out of eight - here about value creation through implementation.
Why should healthcare professionals spend their valuable time collaborating on an interdisciplinary team?
Prior to the implementation of a given technology, an interdisciplinary implementation team should be established. The task of the team is to prepare, follow and lead the implementation process in the organization.
In the project DISH (Digital & Innovation Skills Helix in Health), this interdisciplinary team is referred to as a Learning Innovation Unit (LIU). It is an important basic precondition that the participants in the interdisciplinary teams know in advance how they are expected to engage in the work of LIU and how LIU contributes to a successful implementation process.
The group must initially create a common vision of the “new” organization after a successful implementation. Then it must be clarified which role LIU should have during the actual implementation. Together, LIU must define the success criteria for the interdisciplinary collaboration in LIU and the success criteria for its role in the implementation process.
The technology supplier (the company) is part of LIU
It is important that LIU has a representative from the company and that there is a special focus on the role he or she has - both in relation to process and technology - and as a product expert. Here the questions can be:
- How does the company gain access to staff observations regarding the functionality of a technology or their reflections on "adjacent" needs?
- Why is it important?
The Golden Why
Then LIU focuses on technology. Which challenges does the technology have to contribute to solving and how? Usually this is defined in the business case that forms the basis for the decision to purchase the technology. But the LIU must constantly focus on "The Golden Why"
- Why are we implementing this technology?
- How do we continuously ensure that technology creates the expected benefits and the expected value?
The company Sekoia, sells implementation and benefit realization as an integral part of their technological value proposition. Former implementation specialist at Sekoia, Thea Boje Windfeldt, emphasized that The Golden Why is "absolutely central in their work with implementation". It is important to maintain management's reflection on why they bought the technology, which effects they aim to achieve and which goals they have.
Describe the workflows that are affected or changed by the technology
Ideally, the workflows will already be described in advance in the business case for the technology, but now LIU with its interdisciplinary expertise must return and accurately specify the workflows and processes that will be affected:
- How are the changes expected to affect the need for leadership?
Here, LIU must carefully specify what kind of management there should be of the future workflows and processes.
Identify staff groups and needs for competence development
In this process, it is important not only to think about staff groups, but also day, evening and night shifts - if technology affects these shifts differently. The interdisciplinary group works with an analysis for each staff group. The starting point is to find the motivational factors that can lead to increased commitment for the various professional groups:
- How can their roles in the "new" workflows be made attractive?
It is also here that one becomes aware of what kind of on-the-job training there is needed.
Trine Ungerman Fredskild, Chief Consultant at Forskningshuset, Sygehus Sønderjylland, says:
- The interdisciplinary work in LIU can form the basis for the involvement of both managers and employees in the process of gaining knowledge, understanding and competencies in the application of the technologies to be trained in. The LIU concept can practically be used in preparation for the training and for follow-up on the training, so that you ensure that you reach the learning goals set for the training and the competencies desired through the training.
In the project digiS, the focus has been on the digital competencies in a healthcare system close to the citizen. The project has produced six online courses that can be completed individually but are particularly suitable for supporting joint reflection and knowledge development in the practice where new technology is implemented as part of the health professional task.
In relation to training, it is also important to maintain a focus on motivation. How to ensure recognition of new skills and how can on-the-job training and use of new technology become a motivating factor that can be converted into competence in a career context?
- The recognition of one's health technology competencies can be significant in several ways. On the one hand, there is in the recognition process a visibility of what one can actually do, and which one can therefore build on. In part, with documentation of your competencies, you have the opportunity to put them into play, for example in connection with job search and further education, says Anne Marie Dahler, associate professor and PhD at UCL - University College Lillebælt.
Anne Marie Dahler has researched in the implementation of welfare technology and has also been involved in developing models for documentation of skills under the auspices of the National Knowledge Center for Early Learning Assessments. Anne Marie Dahler has been a driving force in the development of an evaluation concept of on-the-job training that is part of the DISH project.
Understand and involve the health professionals who are directly affected by the new technology
The interdisciplinary group must examine whether it is immediately obvious to the team of health professionals who will be working with the new technology (the end-users) which value the technology creates. And based on this, they need to design dissemination communication.
If it is clear to everyone which benefits technology generates, then it will be a strong and driving factor during implementation. Here you can with advantage examine whether the company has some experience that can be transferred from previous implementation projects.
It is also important that the health professional team, which has to work with the technology on a daily basis, is continuously involved. This can be done, among other things, by using the "shared decision making" method.
The health professional team must, among other things, jointly define what the success criteria are for the implementation. The common vision must then be formulated and shared so that it is known by all.
One can also discuss how to promote exploratory behaviour among health professionals:
- Which values need to be promoted in the team to encourage the team to continue, after implementation, to explore new applications for the technology?
- How can the technology possibly also be used in relation to other workflows?
Working Virtual is a consulting company that supports the implementation of telecommunications health. Director Michael Rønde says that their main focus is not at all on the technology, but on the behaviour, you want in an organization. You select a gross list of related processes that you decide to work with.
Michael Rønde says that there are often already a lot of technologies in operation, but no one really knows how it all works. Therefore, the role of Working Virtual is often to clean up the existing technologies and find out where the "trouble" come from and what can be optimized.
It is also Michael's experience that it is a basic precondition that you get the employees on board: in a way that they understand that implementation is central and the change that is created is important and relevant to the organization – Hence, change communication is important.
ABOUT LIU, on-the-job training and DISH
The connection between the interdisciplinary collaboration in LIU, on-the-job training and associated evaluation is the focal point of the international project DISH, where three coherent concepts are currently being tested by 600 health professionals from five European countries. The Danish partners in the project are Sygehus Sønderjylland (Region South), UCL and Welfare Tech.
Photo: Christina Morillo from Pexels.
In a series of eight articles, Welfare Tech focuses on the crucial parameters for a successful implementation. This is the second article - on 'generation of value through implementation'.