In a previous episode of The Power Hour, Optometry's live talk radio show, Ian Lane took the chair and had a conversation with Dr. Gary Gerber about dealing with change management during the implementation phase of purchasing new optical software.
Making the decision to purchase new software for your practice can bring out mixed feelings among your staff, so make sure that you read up (or listen up) to these tips on dealing with resistance and change in your practice.
How Managing Change Plays a Role in Your Optical Software Purchase
Change management is the art and science of managing yourself and your team to accept, accommodate, and embrace a big change. In this case, the big change is implementing a new practice management and EHR solution in your office. Changing up the workflow of your staff by switching to a new EHR could come as quite a shock, and you might face some pushback and resistance from your staff!What makes people resistant to change?
In the world of an eyecare practice, staff in your office will come from a variety of backgrounds and skill levels. Older practices might have more staff members with less technology experience, especially if you've been running a paper practice. Just the idea of learning new technology could be something your staff dreads, making them fear the change. In an eyecare practice that is already busy, the idea of having to increase documentation during patient visits can definitely be hard. Staff members have compared the idea of EHR training and implementation to speeding down the 405 with a blown tire and having to change the tire without stopping. While these fears are understandable, you have to be able to reign in those feelings and get everyone on board with the new system.
What's the best way to manage those resistant to change?
The best thing you can do is work to get their buy-in. Instead of telling them that you purchased a software and they better get started with training, talk to them before you make the purchase. Open up the door for a conversation about a new software that you found that will help make their jobs easier. Give examples of how the new system will reduce pain points in their workflow, and help provide better overall patient care.
What should the software vendor do to help with the transition?
Make sure that the vendor you choose is a company that is investing time in support and training materials to continually train your staff on the use of the product. And if software is well-designed, training should come easy. The vendor is going to become your partner. Do they understand how an eyecare practice works?
What should implementation look like?
Implementation is a partnership between the vendor and the practice. The software will need to be customized to the needs of the practice, and this can be time consuming. You'll need someone in your office to take on the role of project manager, whether that's you, the OD, or an office manager. Your software vendor is going to need data and information from you in order to get your system set up and customized for your practice. This will take time out of someone's day, so make sure that the person in charge has the capacity and time to work with the vendor and get them everything they need to ensure a timely and effective implementation.
What's the best advice for ODs making a change?
ODs need to take the time to understand the wants and needs of their practice, and have a clear reason for purchasing new optical software. The new system needs to meet and exceed the requirements of the practice in order for you to get the most out of the investment. Once you have a clear understanding of what you need and which software can give you want you need, you should be able to get your staff's buy-in with the new system and from there you will be on your way.
Helping and supporting your staff starts long before implementation. Download our ebook on Staff Management below.
Originally published in August 2014