Friday, May 17, 2019

Top 5 Reasons Technology Adoption Stalls in Healthcare

By Doug Arthur, Vice President Adoption Services Mainstay
Investing in new technology in healthcare has been proven to improve patient care, lower costs, and increase staff retention. But that’s true only when you ensure that the new technology is actually used.
This begs the question: What’s the key to technology adoption in healthcare?
The first step is to view the investment not only as a technology transformation but as a transformation of people and processes. You need to make sure the technology works, but you also need to inspire and delight all the different users – nurses, doctors, administrators, and patients – with a balanced and effective implementation plan.
Start by avoiding the common pitfalls that often stall technology adoption in Healthcare:
1.     Poor user experience
2.     User desire not identified
3.     Users not engaged early
4.     Sponsors not actively participating
5.     IT infrastructure does not adequately support the application
First impressions are everything
Technology deployments usually fail because of poor user experience. When users are not impressed the first time they use the solution, they rarely give it a second try. In a recent engagement with a large hospital in Texas, for example, we found that staff were reluctant to use the new solution because of a disappointing first experience. Sure, the technology worked as designed, but IT failed to anticipate the special needs of their non-technical user communities.
That’s why it's important to take the time to understand how users view new technology and communicate with them from the end-user perspective. As one CIO told us, we had to “go meet our users where they’re at.” Above all, make sure users are delighted the very first time they interact with the new solution.
User change barriers typically outweigh new tech excitement
Don’t leave it up to employees to figure out the new technology on their own. Staff are usually too busy – and frankly not tech-curious enough – to change their own behavior. IT must help them along. Be sure to spend time showing users how they benefit directly from the new technology.
Be sure to engage employees in the process. With a recent client, for example, hospital executives and training staffs helped identify the use cases for a new tech initiative, becoming invested in the process and how it helps them solve pressing business needs.
Communicate early and often
No one likes change happening at them. They want to be part of the change. That’s why you should involve those affected by new technology early in the process and communicate regularly. The messaging can be as simple as letting the users know what is happening and when – and identifying power users and soliciting their opinions.
Building champions early helps ensure a successful deployment. It also helps bridge the demographic gap. For example, at a recent conference, a hospital executive said their biggest technology adoption challenge was the friction between older and younger nurses. Bringing the two groups together for open discussions helped put everybody on a common path.
Leadership is critical to adoption
Executives always like to back winning ideas, so getting widespread support on an unproven technology project can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to develop a plan to activate executive sponsorship as the deployment gains traction.
At a large healthcare provider in California, for example, the IT team strategized how to engage the CEO’s staff. At the end of the implementation, not only did the executives support the project, but they participated in activities where they could actively demonstrate their support. Ultimately the CEO claimed the whole project was their idea!
Application experiences are only as good as the underlying infrastructure enables
Finally, make sure the IT infrastructure is engineered to support all uses of the application. Too often we see clients scale back on their technology deployment just because of limited network or infrastructure capabilities. Issues such as latency, spotty access, and poor security architecture can seriously impact users and their ability to see value from the solution.
You can help ensure the success of the project through systematic testing, phased deployment, and robust communication planning to make that first encounter of your solution a truly rewarding experience. One other thing: don’t sacrifice key solution features and functionality just to speed your rollout or meet budget constraints. This can significantly hurt the adoption of your technology solution.
Learn more about how Mainstay can help you adopt healthcare technology solutions at

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Bridging the Gap with a Remote Workforce: Part 1

By Dan Corcoran, Chief Technology Officer & VP of Sales Enablement, Mainstay Company

Ten years ago, when I told people I worked almost exclusively from home they reacted as if I had just told them I work from my own private luxury island. Working from home is less exotic these days, but many people are still surprised when they learn that Mainstay’s entire team works remotely. Typical responses range from thinly veiled skepticism, “That must be difficult to manage,” to outright dismissal, “No way can that work in the long term.”
But it has already worked – over 12 years and counting.
There are a lot of great advantages to a remote team. We can hire from a really diverse and deep set of candidates because we are not limited to one regional market. We save a ton of money on real estate. And most importantly, we’ve created a culture and lifestyle that are hard to beat and that means our team members stick around – we have incredibly low turnover at Mainstay.
This is a big topic, so I’m going to split this post into a few parts. Over the next couple of posts, I’ll talk about the tools and strategies we use to collaborate effectively, an operational model we believe contributes to the success of a remote office, and finally some potential issues/roadblocks that need to be overcome.
Let’s start with tools that we use to bridge the geography between our people. Obviously, having everyone remote presents challenges to collaboration. Effective collaboration is just a little bit harder when no one is in the same room and so we’ve adopted a set of tools that we use to overcome the separation.
Webex / Teams
By far the most critical collaboration tool we use is Cisco’s Webex/Teams combo. There are a lot of good web conferencing solutions and a metric ton of IM apps that you can use, but there are a couple of things I like about Cisco’s platform over the others: seamless integration with email and other productivity apps, overall great quality of service and stability, and a great mobile app experience. In practice, we use Webex for client meetings or large internal sessions that are scheduled in advance, but I really like Teams for small team collaboration. I use Teams daily as an IM app, a VoIP solution, to hold impromptu web conferences with screen sharing, and to share files amongst my team. The biggest advantage of Cisco’s platform is that it is so easy to use that it quickly becomes habitual: when you work remotely, collaboration needs to be a reflex.
We use Box as an intranet as well as a file-sharing platform for client work. Box makes it easy to share and collaborate on documents both internally and externally. Great versioning control makes it easy to manage documents with multiple authors. It’s a very secure platform, yet it’s also really easy to add collaborators outside of Mainstay when we need to, which helps us work efficiently with our clients. Recently, I’ve started using the Box Notes feature set to collaborate with colleagues and clients, and it is a game-changer. 
Office 365 / Google Sheets
I think both Google and Microsoft have compelling platforms, and we actually use both (full disclosure, as early adopters we have a free enterprise license to Google). I think Google has done a better job of creating a platform where collaboration feels more natural on the web, whereas Microsoft feels a bit more “me too.” You don’t really need both, and either one works great, but I would definitely choose a web-enabled version of Office over strictly local client versions (which you get anyway) if you go with Microsoft. We collaborate in real-time on many different types of documents, and both platforms make it easy to be productive.
Another advantage to a cloud productivity suite is that all of your files are accessible from anywhere you choose. I recently had a hardware issue that required me to replace my laptop. Once I had my new machine, I was back up and running within 30 minutes. All I had to do was reinstall a couple of applications.
So, there you have it. Next time, I’ll talk about our operational model and how we maintain a collaborative atmosphere and encourage innovation without being in the same room.