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Preparing physicians for health care technology adoption

Embracing technology-enabled health care

Realizing optimal value for technology-enabled health care investments begins with a holistic engagement strategy for physicians, the primary stewards of health care technology adoption.

Addressing the growing demand for highly personalized, technology-enabled health care

​Addressing the drivers of value-based care and the growing demand for personalized health care—including enabling health care technologies—are among the most critical needs facing health care provider organizations today. Health system CEOs recognize that providing a streamlined and consistent experience is necessary to becoming a provider of choice.1

In general, physicians understand the increasingly important role of technology-enabled health care initiatives, including the use of electronic health records. Among the benefits of electronic health records are improved practice operations efficiency, patient quality of care, and patient relationships. However, more than 75 percent of surveyed physicians say electronic health records increase practice costs and reduce their productivity.2 Along with these hurdles, challenges with implementation and physician workflows often lead to less-than-optimal health care technology adoption.

Organizations looking to drive value-based care through technology investments need to consider how they can encourage and enable physicians to fully use these systems to create the best possible experience for patients. They also need to be doing this in a way that drives improved quality and consistency of patient care, while minimizing impacts to productivity, revenue, and overall implementation costs.

Physicians as the primary stewards of health care technology adoption

​Traditional approaches to prepare physicians for technology implementations often overlook opportunities to engage physicians in activities throughout the implementation that would drive ownership and optimal use of the new system. The focus often tends to be directed toward delivering formal classroom training that can be burdensome on physicians and their practices. This training requires many hours of time away from patients and may generate low satisfaction from participants.

A thoughtful, holistic strategy is necessary—one that expands beyond training and considers physician engagement throughout the entire implementation. It starts with the planning, selection, and design of the system; continues with exposure to the build; and finishes with involvement in readiness, training, and go-live support activities. The strategy also enables physicians to express their preferences for receiving timely, concise, and relevant information along the way.

Physicians tend to look for a familiar face when they need technical assistance—typically the people who support them on a daily basis—and many organizations miss the opportunity for including these critical roles in the support plan.

Where to begin? A phase-by-phase approach

​An effective strategy for driving health care technology adoption considers how to gain buy-in and ownership with physician stakeholders, share information, and teach physicians how to use the system—all according to the needs and preferences of the physicians themselves. Take a phase-by-phase approach to driving these priorities:

  • Vendor selection and design phases. This is your opportunity to lay the groundwork for physician buy-in, ownership, and support. Engaging physicians in the strategic discussions about the long-term goals of the implementation is critical to linking objectives to the metrics.
  • Testing and training phases. Engage physicians in decision making and develop their internal support network. Proactively communicating the activities where physicians will be involved enables expectations to be set appropriately and increases the likelihood of participation and support. 
  • Go-live and beyond. Take the time to build on the fundamentals that will drive efficient use of the system. Continuous communication and training are necessary to transition from go-live to the point where physicians are fluent in the system and using it as efficiently as possible.

Preparing physicians to efficiently use an information technology (IT) system involves integrated, physician-focused efforts across an implementation lifecycle.

The benefits of getting physicians on board

​Improving health care technology adoption is important to health care organizations’ ability to meet the growing need for value-based, personalized care. Investing in a targeted, holistic strategy that encourages early and continuous physician engagement in every phase of implementation can improve buy-in, use, and overall effectiveness of these systems—and ultimately benefit all stakeholders.

Realize greater value in health IT investments with a targeted strategy to engage physicians. Download the PDF to learn more. 

1Deloitte Consulting LLP: “Lens into the future: Health System CEO interviews” 2015.
2Deloitte Consulting LLP: “Annual checkup on physician adoption of health IT” 2014.

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