As I expressed in my previous blog entry, relationships are a crucial component of effective business communication because they help us effectively work toward common goals. When working with complex technology systems in the challenging environment of healthcare, effective communication is crucial and plays a vital role in facilitating effective care.
After building a variety of different specialized workflows throughout my career, I continue to learn the value in being adaptable and flexible. Methodologies for IT projects need to be tailored to meet the specific characteristics of a client’s IT needs and clinical workflows. Plans and projects always evolve as teams collaborate to create individual and organizational solutions.
Over the years, I have been exposed to a variety of specialties, including Primary Care, Internal Medicine, Rheumatology, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Pediatrics, Podiatry, Pain Management, General Surgery, Neurosurgery, Cardiology, OB/GYN, Nutrition, Pulmonology, Perinatal/Neonatal, Urology, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Sleep Medicine and Orthopedics. My exposure to a wide variety of specialties has taught me one important thing: bridging communication between multiple parties is crucial to success.
Communication is the driving force behind the efficiency gained by the effective use of information technology, and it is also required to complete jobs and deliver lasting improvements for end-user satisfaction. As a professional who helps deliver complex information systems to clients, I never forget that my job ultimately boils down to improving communication, so critical operations can function as smoothly as possible.
The importance of bridging the gap between technology and clinicians
Understanding both the relational aspects and different workflows of a wide variety of parties gives an advantage in understanding how to provide safe, effective and affordable medical care. To create an environment of improved patient satisfaction, it is crucial that all relevant parties involved can contribute input and are brought onboard to support new initiatives that might change the work environment.
One example of the importance of unifying diverse groups to better facilitate end-user care can be seen in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), a valuable tool that makes work easier for care providers. By hosting a desktop on a virtual machine, VDI allows the clinical team to access their data from any workstation while data is stored in a secure datacenter and important regulations, such as HIPAA, are met.
VDI can offer an adaptive and secure computing environment, but staff who have gotten used to their work environment may have trouble adapting this technology, even when it is appropriate and a win-win solution. According to a research project published by Info-Tech, “surveys of over 200 enterprises” revealed that 14% of healthcare participants and 10% of participants across multiple industries “had deployed or were deploying VDI.” Aside from cost, the biggest challenge that the Info-Tech research project identified for VDI was “user acceptance” because “nurses and doctors depend on their devices heavily and any changes to the devices or the process of accessing them must be communicated very carefully.”
Part of T2 Tech’s work at Kootenai Health included facilitating a roll-out of VDI and single sign-on (SSO) to support 2,000 hospital employees. In this effort, T2 Tech made sure that technology teams communicated effectively to determine the needs of the group, and automated logins are now saving 27 minutes per day for nurses and 10 minutes per day for physicians compared to previously established and secured workflows. Improving workflows while maintaining regulation-grade security was our common mission, and our mutual success was a direct result of our ability to collaborate across different parties to identify end-user and organizational needs.
The complexities of unifying communications
At T2 Tech Group, we strive to bridge the communication gap that exists between technology and clinicians. This allows us to deliver the type of improved work environment that we were able to provide at Kootenai Health with VDI and SSO.
As someone with years of experience working with clinicians and technology, I am part of a diverse group that has been assembled to help provide an outside perspective and sharp eye to the entire care coordination team. Potential breakdowns in communication are not simply between the clinician and the patient; many hands are involved in the patient’s stay at the hospital, and with such a diverse array of skill sets in the care coordination team, there are several areas of potential process and communication breakdowns.
To prevent communication breakdowns and make sure that critical operations are not disrupted, my team and I at T2 Tech strive to look objectively at processes, speak to the strong suits of a workflow and recognize potential avenues that may create inefficiencies or error.
At Kootenai Health, we were able to help improve inefficiencies after a new help desk support center was implemented. Our efforts resulted in a project referred to onsite as Project Hollywood, where we developed a custom IT alert system and facilitated team training for the new system.
Now, as a result, IT management and support teams are immediately aware of technology problems, and they can quickly resolve issues and free up end-user time. Implementing this solution was successful because the IT team was able to identify an inefficient aspect of IT team workflow that hindered timely communication.
Taking a personable approach
My personal approach to effectively connecting with clients is to consistently hold true to the core of who I am. My objective is to always be flexible, positive and forward thinking. This is not only important to my personal mentality, but it is a vital key to success in the ever-changing world of healthcare technology.
I recognize that change can be hard and uncomfortable for some and exciting and invigorating for others. The ability to manage the full spectrum of change management in a challenging, diverse and forward-moving environment is essential to making sure critical operations are functioning and patient needs are ultimately met.