When you have an infrastructure in place that everyone is used to working with it can be a daunting prospect to overhaul it. This is especially true in the healthcare world. We went through an infrastructure overhaul in our own business 3 years ago when we realized that we outgrew our customer relationship management software. We should have changed it a year earlier than we did but our organizational procrastination set in because it seemed like such a long and expensive process. Scanning the news in the hospital word alone we see record rates of healthcare providers who are merging with other organizations and who use different software. This can lead to reluctance from both sides to change their policy management software so that there is just one system. Or in some instances a healthcare provider may just feel that their current system no longer fulfills their needs and requirements. In both of these instances it is true that there may be certain differences in usability that leads to certain idiosyncrasies. It is a big decision when considering to go through the chasm of change and is a big unknown for most heath care organizations.
Perhaps the most common concern are the technical problems that healthcare teams perceive may arise from the removal of one system and implementation of another. The reality is that with the way most current software is designed, swapping can usually be done with minimal interruption in terms of accessibility and availability of policies. This is because during the transitioning period both software systems can usually coexist. In this sense all the employees can keep referring to the old policy management system even without knowing that a new policy management system is coming into play. It’s a soft launch and gentle integration that is used to cause as little interruption as possible.
To be honest though this scenario could become a little confusing for certain staff members whom are continuously working on policies to perform the more time consuming tasks of editing or creating policies.
Therefore during the period of coexistence it is essential that the content producer/reviewer is well informed about the swapping and properly trained to use the new policy management system. This is something that a helpful customer support team will be sensitive to and well drilled at dealing with.
There are two ways that the transition process can happen:
- Gradual: In this scenario the coexistence would happen for a longer period of time and members of staff need to be well informed as to where they would find each policy. This gradual process can happen from department to department or by location.
- On-Off Switch: In this case the transition would occur as quick as a flip of switch for all Therefore it could create a period of time where policies on the old system would be out of date because they are being reviewed and transferred to the new software.
In both options the key is to time the swap properly so as to have the least amount of negative impact. The recommended best practice would be option two as option one usually creates the problem of employees staying with what they are comfortable with and not necessarily adopting what the new organizational norm will be.
One of the features that many healthcare providers switching policy management platforms find useful are import tools, which can upload and set policies metadata based on a list of files and a spreadsheet. After having the files extracted from the old system, and the spreadsheet prepared, the import can be done in a matter of hours. This is something to look for in your existing or upcoming policy management software.
Without doubt the biggest challenge in any software implementation is the training. It can be frustrating to learn new systems but with appropriate planning and training the new healthcare policy management software can be picked up relatively easily as many of the principles are the same. It is important to create a small communication plan aimed at producing some excitement and buzz around the launch of the new system. Communication to your staff is extremely important to get them adopting the new policy management solution rapidly and to create excitement. This is important because policy management software has complete corporate visibility within the healthcare setting.
What To Expect
So hopefully this gives you an idea of what to expect when changing your healthcare policy management software. This can be a difficult and important decision. One final area that is hard to predict is the cooperation from the policy management vendor you will be leaving. One tip is if you are at the stage of selecting policy management solutions you can ask to speak to a reference client that is no longer a customer of the vendor you are about to select. Ideally this would be a client that migrated away from the policy management vendor you are about to select. As we all know companies have had customers that have moved on for various reasons. We have had a few at PolicyMedical over the years.
If you would like to find out more about switching healthcare policy management software contact us. Alternatively if you would like to see PolicyMedical’s Policy Manager software in action please request a demo.