The healthcare industry can be sprawling and complicated which makes implementing change difficult. Processes are often so deeply ingrained and relied on that there can be teething problems when changes are introduced. However, you can take proactive steps to simplify and smoothen this process.
Implementing Change in Hospitals
Since the NHS was founded in 1948, regular innovations and modernisations have improved both patient care and experience. It’s vital that improvements are made to ensure that hospitals provide the very best healthcare for all patients who pass through the doors.
There is sometimes resistance to change, especially if the reasoning behind a decision isn’t communicated effectively.
Keep Staff Informed
Any change that impacts the day-to-day work of staff needs their input. Firstly, staff need to be motivated and supportive of the decision. They should understand what the change is hoping to accomplish and why it’s needed in the first place. Ideally, it should be something they’re already aware of.
Staff need to be updated at all stages of the change. From concept and implementation through to continuation, it’s important that they don’t feel left in the dark. There should be ample opportunity for them to offer their thoughts and opinions.
From the outside, it’s sometimes difficult to see the kind of impact a process is having on a department. Getting insight from those that are closest to the problem is valuable and ensures you can shape process change in the most effective way.
Offer Stats to Support the Change
It’s always better to provide comprehensive statistics and data to support any change decision. Any doubts that staff have can be mitigated with relevant data that outlines exactly how things will improve.
Take hospital meal ordering, for example. It’s a process, in many hospitals, that’s done in the same way as it was 50 years ago, with pen and paper. A member of staff has to make the rounds and record the food choice of all the patients in each ward.
So much food is eventually wasted because this system doesn’t account for patients being discharged or moved to a different ward after they have ordered their food. Orders can’t easily be cancelled or redirected. This means food is often wasted or patients have no choice but to eat the meal that was ordered by the previous person who occupied that bed.
There are alternative solutions to meal ordering that can cut this waste. Our platform, for example, features online meal ordering that ensures every patient receives the meal they’re supposed to.
Implementing this change will be easier if you can provide statistics to support the decision. In this case, switching to our platform and digital meal ordering would see an average-sized hospital save around £182,000 per year.
For more information on the platform we provide for Trusts and other healthcare organisations, take a look at our free healthcare pack.
Set Management Expectations
With staff motivated and well-informed, next you need to consider management. For any project to be successful, you need to set clear expectations for the management team. Everything from the budget to timescales needs to be carefully decided and communicated with them.
There might be unexpected costs or unfortunate delays that arise during the process that you’ll need to speak to management about. Transparency is key as they might need to take necessary steps to accommodate the update. For example, more funds may be allocated or temporary processes might have to be introduced to help make the transition period easier.
Provide regular updates to anyone that might need to be kept in the loop. This ensures any issues caused by miscommunication are avoided and everyone’s on the same page at all times.
Patient Engagement - Collate and Give Feedback
Feedback is a vital part of implementing any change in the healthcare sector. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to receive feedback from anyone that’s impacted by a new process or change in system.
It’s also good practice to give positive feedback too. Change projects can be difficult and stressful without the right team spirit and culture. Giving regular good feedback to those that are involved boosts morale, while ensuring everyone is motivated and supportive of the change.
Hear what staff and patients have to say and make slight adjustments if necessary. Even the best-laid plans might need tweaking once they’re implemented. The best way to collate patient feedback is via an engagement platform. Online surveys can ask patients about their experience without them feeling pressured.
Feedback collation can be part of a wider platform that includes patient entertainment. For patients to access this and many other innovative services, hospitals need to consider switching the systems they use.
Changing Patient Entertainment Systems
Patient entertainment systems are just one of the areas where you may be considering a potential change. Legacy systems are outdated, limited and in many cases simply unused by patients due to cost.
If you’re interested in the alternatives that are available and how they compare to existing bedside systems, make sure to download our free comparison eBook. It covers how the systems have evolved over the years and the changing expectations of patients.
For your free copy of the eBook click the link below and receive the insight you need to make a change that visitors, staff and patients will all benefit from.