Creating Change in the Workplace

November 29, 2017

How to advocate for the solutions you need in your group practice in six steps

Imagine going about the workday, manually trudging through processes your current EHR doesn’t support and musing over how wonderful it would be if it did. The practice owners are cognizant of the ongoing challenges the staff face on a daily basis, but a better solution simply isn’t in the cards. Maybe next year.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, rest assured that encountering push-back is to be expected. Advocating for change in the workplace is nevertheless possible, provided some key steps are observed.

1. Identify the urgency

The nature of most business problems can be broken down into dollars and cents. Consider how much an underperforming EHR is costing the practice. This isn’t simply a matter of adding up vendor invoices at the end of the year. Employee time is a resource that brings value to the practice. How much of it is spent manually performing tasks that should be handled by software automation? This might come in the form of redundant data entry, appointment reminders, or reconciling information from disparate applications and systems. How much lost time can be attributed to workflow inefficiency? Is user frustration so great it encourages employee churn?

Also consider what value might be realized with an adequately functioning solution. In particular, think about how much more could get accomplished in a work day when employees aren’t bogged down and what kind of workplace culture might be fostered to attract and keep talent.

2. Gather buy-in

It is very likely that if one employee is experiencing problems with the current software solution others are as well. Gaining an understanding of the collective frustration will help the practice realize the gravity of the problem. This creates a more compelling argument for change in the workplace when numbers support it, but it also highlights the monetary loss when workflow inefficiency is multiplied across individuals and teams.

3. Have a solid end goal, and communicate it clearly

Anybody can say they wished things were better, but what does that actually look like? Creating a successful change in the workplace means coming up with attainable goals. Think not only about the things that need to be changed, but what a satisfactory change would be (and be specific!). It’s a lot easier to argue for something concrete, and taking any guesswork out of the picture will make the argument a lot more palatable.

Delivery is an equally important consideration to make, and will depend largely on the culture and leadership of the practice. Think about how practice owners might prefer to receive a pitch of this nature. It could be through a formal analysis, a PowerPoint presentation, or a conversation during a meeting. Optimize the setting for which the presentation will occur, and frame it as a sharing of insight. Leadership will respond more positively if it feels led to its own decisions, as opposed to feeling coerced.

4. Identify and remove impediments

No wide-scale organizational change will be without a nominal share of hiccups along the way, which can come in the form of contrasting opinions or logistical shortfalls. If arguments over how to proceed are becoming commonplace, remember the pain points that rallied everyone to the banner of change in the first place. Try to predict how peripheral workflows and overall productivity will be affected during the transition, and plan effectively. Bear in mind that although big changes are never going to be cut-and-dry, the ends will justify the means.

5. Celebrate the small wins

How well a group practice navigates transition will depend a lot on morale. A practice solution overhaul is going to be a process—there’s simply no getting around it—but it doesn’t have to be a slog. Creating milestones will help maintain momentum. Regard the process as a series of steps, and celebrate the small achievements along the way. Be mindful human nature, which encourages boredom and disinterest after about six months of no perceived progress. Adjust implementation milestones accordingly.

6. Continue to build on progress

The overall goal shouldn’t simply be to acquire a better-fitting practice solution at the time and call it good; ultimately, practices should be encouraging a culture that embraces constant improvement. This is especially pertinent in behavioral health, whose industry is subject to change on an ongoing basis, be it legislative, medical, or technological. The better a practice can keep up with and respond to change, the better off it will be over the long run.

The best business insights often come from those that are closest to the work itself. Advocating for change within a group practice is a comprehensive effort, but an important one to make nonetheless. Constantly identifying areas of improvement and mitigating waste will ensure the practice continues to create value for everyone involved.

Is your EHR solution fully supporting you in the ways it should? If not, Valant can help. Click the button below to request a demo!

Last Updated: January 19, 2018