Change Management: Implementing a Team Technology Program

“Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy.
But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”
— Charles Duhigg, “The Power of Habit”

In the changing landscape of healthcare, leadership teams face multiple challenges with ambiguity on how to implement the critical changes needed to drive their organization forward.  

After working with numerous healthcare organizations, Iodine Software has found many documentation programs struggle to achieve concrete results from proposed processes, programs and objectives.

According to The Katzenbach Center, only 54% of companies that try to implement change management, actually lead the process to successful completion.

Clinical Documentation programs struggle because of increasingly complex tasks for team specialists and the lack of resources to complete them. Ways of improving HACs, PSIs and CMI are proposed at every quarterly meeting but without management realistically identifying what needs to change to support those goals.

Often, management determines that a technology partner is necessary to assist the organization to reach goals and to create change. When a team chooses a technology component as a solution, success relies on active leadership.

Lindsay Wenk, Vice President of  Services at Iodine Software, stresses the importance of leadership’s role in actively promoting change; “There has to be permission expressed to the team, to let go of old goals that do not make sense anymore, and vocalize new goals that re-align with technology assistance.”

According to Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit,” there are three steps in the process to developing habits:

“First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.”

Teams have to develop new habits, and break old habits, in order to improve day-to-day workflow.

Strong leadership is essential to successfully integrate technology within team existing processes. Leaders must actively sponsor the change for their teams, finding balance between building consensus, and making the ultimate decision. A leader should empathize with their team about change, offering conditional support and guidance to actively promote the change to move forward.

Successful change starts at the top and transcends downward, first empowering leaders and then their teams to take ownership of the new technology. How a leader reacts and accepts the change will be mirrored by the team.

For leaders to become the sponsors of change, team goals should be owned and defined by leadership. While Iodine helps leaders realize reachable metrics, the leader’s role is to communicate new standards to the team.  Iodine offers the support and training, demonstrating the correct communication to drive commitment behind these changes. Technology saves CDI specialists time, but it does not replace the need for their expertise. It is not a replacement solution to a people-oriented process.

Iodine Software is the technical solution to ensuring documentation integrity.  The artificially intelligent assistant allows CDI Specialists to manage their workflow and identify the right cases, empowering hospitals to meet their CDI program goals.

“Technology is meant to integrate seamlessly into a team’s daily workflow, to get to results faster,” says Wenk.

A CDI specialist’s job is to ensure documentation integrity and write queries. With Iodine SmartList a specialist starts with records at the top of the priority list,  which have the greatest opportunity for documentation improvement. While the Iodine SmartList is changing how CDI specialists review records, it does not drastically change their daily workflow. Specialists can measurably improve productivity and impact, allowing them to spend more time on quality reviews.

“Technology is an enabler, but an enabler that requires active management and participation” critiques Wenk. A specialist must adopt best practices for the possibility of reaching expected results. Iodine has worked with a wide range of healthcare organizations to develop best practices to ensure optimal results.

Iodine offers hands-on training to implement the software successfully into a CDI program. Proper training, and reinforcement are effective tools to ensure CDI programs can get the results that they want from implementing a new technology. Change does not come from the technology; change comes from the people who learn how to use the technology properly and leaders who provide meaningful goals supported by the technology solution.

When an organization partners with a technology program, a leader must actively define, support and reinforce goals. An organization must have strong leadership to be included within the 54% of companies that achieve successful change management.