According to Burke, (2017), change is hard to embrace for an organization and its employees. However, according to Kanopy, (2014), the business environment is challenging and unpredictable. It is necessary to predict the changes of the environment that will affect business. In order to survive competition in the market, every organization should upgrade itself technologically and give up on old-school practices and embrace change in technology. Organizations should focus on research and development and should apply the scholarly knowledge or the relevant academic research in the concerned industry and implement the theories into practice.
The scholar –practitioner model is an operational model which focuses on practical application of scholarly knowledge. This model was used to train clinical psychologists. Now this model is applied in specialty programs, for instance, law, business and public health (Vermaak & de Caluwé, 2017).
I work for a public sector hospital and in my organization everyone still follows the paper-based operational task. My organization requires change in practicing healthcare management. Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) which are digital versions of paper charts are required to be used instead of the traditional practice of using paper-based system. Electronic Medical Records (EMR) or Electronic health records are used in modern day health care management and has multiple benefits over using traditional paper-based operational system to maintain healthcare records of patients (Strauss, 2015).
The first step of Kotter’s eight step change model is to create a sense of urgency. My individual strength as a healthcare management leader was to communicate this complex change among the medical practitioners, nurses and front management people of our hospital. It was necessary to create a sense of urgency among them by communicating to them the multiple opportunities that EMR will open up to healthcare management. It was also of paramount importance to convey to all employees of our hospital the threats that we have to face if we rely on traditional paper-based systems. As a change management leader, I had to arrange meetings with all our stakeholders in team. Our stakeholders like the investors, employees including nurses, medical practitioners, suppliers and customers, that means, patients of our hospital were also informed about the change (Appelbaum et al., 2012).
Opportunities of using EMR are improvement of patient’s care by maintaining accurate digital records of patient’s information and medical history and decrease in financial expenditure (Smith et al., 2013). Using traditional paper based system can pose threats to our hospital from other rival hospitals as patients will switch to hospitals that make usage of modern digital technology. Also if EMR were implemented in our hospital, patient’s medical records could be tracked by multiple healthcare providers over an extended period of time through enterprise-wide networks systems or other shared network systems. Kotter’s second step of change management process was applied by building a guiding coalition. For this purpose, it was important to find the best supplier from the market who could provide us with the software system and implement the same in our hospital .The internal stakeholders of our hospital, that means, medical practitioners were intimidated by this process of change as they had huge faith on traditional system and were reluctant to undergo the training required to use EMR software. Some employees also strongly objected the change as they felt implementing EMR system could lead to theft of digital data. I had to speak to the employees, investors and suppliers to address their fear and asked for emotional commitment from them to implement the change in our hospital. In order to do so my focus was on team building of our stakeholders.
My weakness was that even I had to train myself to use the software. But my strength was my firm conviction in the fact that the digital change can open avenues in multiple arenas for my organization. For this purpose, creation of a strategic vision for my organization and acting as a change agent was important. The vision of our hospital was to improve medical efficiency, ensure the safety of patients and reduce medical errors by installing electronic medical records system .This vision was clearly communicated to the stakeholders. A volunteer army was enlisted by me and action was enabled by removing barriers. To achieve this, co-ordination with the procurement department of my hospital and finding the best supplier of software service provider in the market was my priority. I had to co-ordinate with the human resource team of my organization and convey them the procedures of hiring personnel who will train the internal team of our medical practitioners, caregivers, nurses and doctors so that they can undergo a training to use the EMR software. The thought of implementing this change intimidated me but I overcame my weakness by strengthening my conviction on the strategic vision of my organization (Deville, 2011).
Stakeholders were explained that installing this software can bring dramatic improvement in operational efficiency. Patients land up in emergency in catastrophic situation and often forget their medical records. Doctors will be able to save patient’s life by tracking their personal information, medical history, blood group, allergic reaction etc which will enable doctors to offer right treatment to patients. Investors will also be benefited because EMR software would safe time, be more accurate and decrease administrative cost in the long run. These opportunities were communicated among all our employees and soon action was taken in implementing the software in our hospital. The HR department arranged a 15 days training program for all the employees of our hospital and results were measured after a period of four months (Codish et al., 2015).
After four months, the feedbacks were taken from patients as well as employees. It was found that our hospital could easily communicate with diagnostic centers, pharmacies, insurance service provider and other hospitals with EMR software features. Also, there was less paper work and fewer storage issue which helped decrease administrative costs. Short-term win could also be measured by the quality of healthcare service which improved dramatically as patient’s medical records could be tracked real-time and errors were reduced. Also, the HR department was involved to conduct a performance appraisal for hospital staffs and they were rewarded for their effort in embracing the change, learning the software usage and implementing it in day-to-day operational activities. Change was accelerated within the organization by conducting periodic training and development of new staffs, taking feedback of customers and measuring quality of healthcare management (Lo et al., 2014).
Change is fearful for everyone .As a healthcare management leader I had to deal with my personal weakness of inhibition and upgrade myself in technology. It was ensured that all theoretical and research work of healthcare scholars were studied before developing a strategic vision of my organization. I had to focus on my communication strategy with the major stakeholders and ensure actions were taken in implementing changes. Results were measured periodically to monitor quality and cost (McAlearney et al., 2015).
It can be concluded that the world is undergoing technological changes and it is necessary to sense the need for change and implement the same in our organization. To do so, it was necessary to implement the EMR system for my organization which is a hospital and I had to analyze my own weakness and convert them into strengths by embracing a firm conviction on the vision of my organization. Acting as a change agent within the organization is not easy and a substantial effort was required on my part to communicate the necessity of change among my employees and investors and direct them to take substantial action to implement the change. The outcome of my effort was great and finally the modern technology of EMR system was upgraded in our hospital which enabled the organization to be an incredible quality healthcare service provider.
Appelbaum, Steven H, Habashy, Sally, Malo, Jean - Luc, & Shafiq, Hisham. (2012). Back to the future: Revisiting Kotter's 1996 change model. The Journal of Management Development, 31(8), 764-782.
Burke, W. W. (2017). Organization change: Theory and practice. Sage Publications.
Codish, Toledano, Novack, Sherf, & Borer. (2015). Effectiveness of stringent decontamination of computer input devices in the era of electronic medical records and bedside computing: A randomized controlled trial. AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control, 43(6), 644-646.
Deville, L. (2011). Solving rural America's healthcare challenges. Health Management Technology,32(12), 12-13.
Kanopy. (2014). Technology economics : A driving force behind business today.
Lo, Lee, Chen, & Liu. (2014). Improving the work efficiency of healthcare-associated infection surveillance using electronic medical records. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine,117(2), 351-359.
McAlearney, A., Hefner, J., Sieck, C., & Huerta, T. (2015). The Journey through Grief: Insights from a Qualitative Study of Electronic Health Record Implementation. Health Services Research, 50(2), 462-488.
Smith, A., Bradley, R., Bichescu, B., & Tremblay, M. (2013). IT Governance Characteristics, Electronic Medical Records Sophistication, and Financial Performance in U.S. Hospitals: An Empirical Investigation. Decision Sciences, 44(3), 483-516.
Strauss, L. (2015). Electronic Medical Records - Benefits and Liabilities. Journal of Health Care Compliance, 17(2), 57-58.
Vermaak, H., & de Caluwé, L. (2017). Creating a colorful model of change: Reflection on developing a theory as scholar-practitioners. Journal of Management Inquiry, 26(2), 225-239.
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