Creating change begins with vision creation for change and then proceeding to empower individuals to act as changing agents to achieve the intended vision. The individuals empowered as change management agents are required to have plans that provide a whole systems approach, are achievable, and are future-oriented. Change management includes effective strategies and programs that make it possible for changing agents to achieve the desired vision (Weiss, 1990).
Effective implementation of organizational change is quite of strategic significance for healthcare stakeholders because they are confronted with challenges to reform healthcare. The process has hurdles in that the consciously developed blueprint for change may bring about disintegration during implementation, interfering with the lives of people working in health organizations and also the service delivery managed and provided by them. Furthermore, organizational research has pointed the obstacles linked with implementing system change into organizations that are well structured as those in the health sector. Research has indicated that when patterns of work get established and taken for granted they tend to exhibit high resistance to change. Research has also explained that considerable changes occur in events that are not internal to the organization, like regional mandate in the case of healthcare (Griggs, 2004).
Technology Is Not Enough
Technological investments usually consist of things or components and thus it is easy for one to make the mistake of thinking that technology is implemented the moment is bought and installed. Thus nothing works without the participation of people. Human issues are quite vital in the process of redesigning work processes. However work-process redesign projects normally focus wholly on technology, failing to incorporate the human and organizational aspects of work. Hence in these instances, organizations tend not to explore the nontechnical ways of improving organization processes, like training, changes in structures/procedures, and management practices. It has been argued that technology strategy drives organizational change. Technically correct applications have not been successful because of sabotage by users who are used to old ways of doing things. Therefore management of natural resistance to change and assistance in the conversion of that resistance into commitment and enthusiasm need to be a planned course of action. Hence new methods need to enhance the quality of work-life and diversify responsibility, motivation, and empowerment (Grey and Study, 2003).
The Role of Customers
It is important to figure out our customer’s needs, using the idea of a customer in the wider sense of the complex healthcare world. Customers embrace quality things and therefore an organization that does better things in terms of quality would tend to win more customers. The healthcare management needs therefore to identify precisely parts of processes that are conspicuous to the customers and emphasize reengineering them. However, the customer needs concept is significant in the internal aspect. In this era of increasing change, it would be suicidal for healthcare to perceive that changes are initiated just for the sake of change. The culture concept when focused on constant improvement of customer needs will bring about the rationale for rapid and frequent changes in the healthcare sector (Leibundgut and Sieber, 2002).
Key elements for organizational change
Surface displeasure with the current state and create a sense of need
This can happen by sending reports to every nursing unit to be discussed with the nurses at every change of shift explaining the total number of patients in holding beds in the ED. This method will pass information to all of the charge nurses at the hospital on the issue. This will bring about the establishment of appropriate metrics and transparency in accountability as to what is occurring that prevents the ED patient flow to their floor. Then the metrics should be communicated to the entire organization to show how a particular problem collectively includes all the hospital and medical staff and not only the ED (Melson and Schultz, 1990).
Communicating a clear vision of the proposed change
This involves holding compulsory in-services. Show videos that provide examples of successful change efforts. Go through the metrics. Show pictures that explain the extent of the problem. Have group meetings and discussions and then publish newsletter
Promote participation in the proposed change
This involves including all the people in the proposed change. Once an individual is given an opportunity and his input is incorporated into the change it becomes an achievement to the organization.
Communication should be encouraged on the coming change with the medical and nursing staff. It should appear as agenda for medical staff and departmental meetings, on the newsletters, etc.
Ensuring Maintenance of commitment
Healthcare stakeholders should think of using feedback mechanisms to evaluate improvement during the transition process. They can apply qualitative and quantitative metrics that reflect the change that has been recommended by the organization. Finally, a written policy needs to be appended to highlight the crucial decisions undertaken by the organization
It is widely accepted that technology propels change in the organizational environment, but this is not the case. Information technology is a very powerful force that avails new opportunities and options in the environment for what an organization offers. Therefore every facilitating technology has the prospect of transforming one or more of the workplace. Combined together they become a powerful set of technologies that healthcare organizations need to embrace in the 21st century. Thus medical informatics area is on the edge of creating outcomes that many dreamed about, a few years ago. The challenge would therefore be in the implementation of concepts and systems as easily as possible, without wasting resources and opportunities as a result of overlooked pitfalls of managing changes (Buesseler et al, 1997).
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