Switching to a new EMR is never easy. But when your current system doesn’t align with your practice or help you meet your goals, it’s the best option. Leadership may see the benefits and be all in, but getting the staff to buy in can be more difficult. This is perfectly understandable, since they’re out there in the trenches every day and learning to use a new system is just one more hurdle on their to-do list.
To make the transition successful, you need the support of your staff. In the best-case scenario, they will not only support, but believe this change is the next best step and that their lives will be better after you go live. It’s up to you to create a positive environment by giving them insight into the why and how—and this starts weeks before you make the actual change.
The following are 10 suggestions for how to get your staff to buy-in.
1. Choose technology wisely
A smooth transition begins with choosing the right solution. Find a solution that’s intuitive and user friendly. It should work like the tech they use in their daily lives. If you take your time and make sure it’s the right solution to prevent a subsequent change, your confidence will trickle down to your staff.
2. Prepare and plan
There is no substitute for good preparation and planning. Know and communicate your plan for pre-launch training, go-live, and post implementation support. The unknown is often the source of anxiety. If everyone on your staff knows the process and the plan, they will be more confident that they can manage their role in the change.
3. Lay out the vision
Know how you will discuss the change to your staff. What you are changing and why? How will impact each person? How will you measure success? Employees need to understand why the new technology partner is an improvement.
4. Choose a physician champion
Find one physician that believes in the vision you have for your practice and the value a new EMR solution brings to the clinic. Your team is more likely to buy in if they hear the enthusiastic support of a colleague.
5. Start at the top
Secure the buy-in of team leaders first. Ask them about what they see as challenges, and allow them to offer solutions. Once you have their support, have them work with individuals on their team to help them get ready for the changes to come. Give them real-world scenarios as teaching tools, and share stories that illustrate results.
6. Individualize the message
You know your staff best. You know what’s important to them and how they respond to change. Think about their roles and responsibilities and approach them individually to talk about how the change will affect their work life. Sit in their space and speak to their concerns. This approach shows you recognize the unique challenges each team member will face, and it matters to you.
7. Get staff involved
Have team members own specific tasks during the change process so they have a stake in the outcome. Not only will it help to get the job done, but it will help to remove uncertainties and make your team more cohesive in the long run.
8. Provide comprehensive training
Your training plan must be comprehensive and required. Assign training and allow staff time to complete it. Provide the information in a variety of forms—digital and printed. This may include video, webinars, and printed guides. Follow up with hands-on practice. Once your team completes training, assess their progress and address challenges. Do all of this before you go live.
The entire change process will be smoother if you communicate expectations, timelines, and progress. Be transparent, address real concerns, and offer solutions. Be sure to talk to the most resistant people on your staff. Make it personal and find out why they’re fighting the change. Not everyone will be enthusiastic, but do your best to move them to a place of support. Remember that communication goes two ways. Make sure you’re listening.
10. Show and share positive results
Everyone loves to see progress and be recognized. Share positive results early and often. Getting staff buy-in doesn’t stop at go live. Keep the conversation going, solve problems, and stay positive.
Transitioning to a new EMR is a big step for everyone in your clinic. Be receptive to the thoughts, ideas, and challenges that directly affect your staff. It will make your transition much smoother and improve the entire process.