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Technology in healthcare helps people get those services and treatments that save lives and provide comfort. In addition, technologies such as Electronic Health Records (EHR) allow providers to increase their efficiency, reduce errors, and improve service quality due to easier access to data and their organization (Tsai et al., 2020). This change management plan will focus on applying Electronic Health Records (EHR) in hospital operations and outline the steps and responsibilities for its successful implementation.
Purpose of the Change Management Plan
The primary purpose of creating a change management plan is to identify the necessary steps and analyze their implementation actions. At the same time, the goal of introducing changes, or rather the use of EHR, is to improve staff efficiency and the quality of patient care (Tsai et al., 2020). Therefore, this plan is intended to identify all the risks and barriers to the implementation of changes and define the responsibilities of staff to overcome them.
Stages and Steps of Plan Implementation
Any change process requires such steps as identifying the problem and the main steps to fix it, direct staff action, and evaluating and consolidating the results. According to Lewin’s theory, one can divide such stages into unfreezing, moving, refreezing, and each of these stages determines and uses the driving and restricting forces for the implementation of changes (Udod & Wagner, 2018). Consequently, further steps will be determined according to this classification.
During the unfreezing phase, the main task of the leaders is to identify the problem and convince the employees of the need to change old patterns of behavior. For this reason, the first step should be to measure such aspects as staff efficiency and quality of care, employees’ workload satisfaction, and administrative and overall patient care costs. These indicators will indicate the problem and are also pre-test data for assessing the effectiveness of changes. At this stage, it is also necessary to identify the restricting forces, such as lack of education, motivation, and computer skills, to choose measures for their overcoming. In addition, based on data on restricting forces, leaders need to select the most appropriate EHR system with a user-friendly design, detailed instructions for use, and a sufficient database.
The moving phase requires the introduction of the EHR system into operation. Therefore, the first step at this stage is to train all personnel in the basic functions of the system. The second step is to directly apply the EHR to patient care. In addition, driving forces can be identified and used at this stage, for example, penalties for not using the EHR or rewards for initiatives to improve the system.
The transition to the refreezing process requires an evaluation of the changes’ effectiveness. Consequently, the first step is to re-evaluate the quality of staff performance, workload satisfaction, and costs after 1 and 3 months. In addition, the satisfaction of the personnel with the changes and the work of the system should also be assessed. At the same time, the results after 1 month can be insignificant or even negative, since employees need to master the system, which takes a significant amount of time. If the results show improvement after 3 months, the next step will be to consolidate the changes with the help of a rewards and punishments system, improvement of the software, and the transition of the hospital operations to the EHR system.
Hospital leaders have primary responsibility for implementing the plan as they must identify the need for change, convince staff, and inspire. Such duties as evaluating changes and project costs also lie with managers, since they are responsible for the allocation and use of funds. However, head nurses must report progress and problems with EHR implementation and monitor their correct use. In addition, one or more nurses should be assigned to assist and train staff in operating the system during the moving phase to overcome the lack of computer skills. The main responsibilities of regular employees are to use the EHR system, keep records, and work with patients.
Before writing the assignment, I reviewed many theories of change and noted their advantages and disadvantages myself. However, Lewin’s theory of change seems to be the most consistent and logical explanation of the process of change in organizations; therefore, I have applied it to create the plan. First, I used the main stages of the plan’s implementation following the example of Lewin’s theory, since they seem to be the most logical and accurate. I believe that I would have used this same model if I had not known about Lewin’s theory, but it helped me see more clearly the stages, as well as the roles of different employees in each of them.
Another essential aspect that is central to Lewin’s theory is driving and restricting forces. Typically, people are afraid of changes due to ignorance of their possible consequences and lack of confidence in their strengths. These restricting forces are usually universal since at least one member of a team faces them. Eliminating fear and uncertainty is a major challenge in any hospital, regardless of its size and resources. For this reason, I put their finding as one of the steps in developing a plan to evaluate risks and measures for their diminishing. Determining the driving forces is also an essential step as their assessment helps to choose means of motivating employees, as well as use them as advantages for plan realization (Udod & Wagner, 2018). Therefore, Lewin’s theory allowed me to focus on these aspects and increase the likelihood of successfully implementing the plan. Hence, I can say that Lewin’s theory formed the basis of my plan since it indicates most of the necessary elements for its development.
Tsai, C. H., Eghdam, A., Davoody, N., Wright, G., Flowerday, S., & Koch, S. (2020). Effects of Electronic Health Record implementation and barriers to adoption and use: A scoping review and qualitative analysis of the content. Life, 10(12), 1-27. Web.
Udod, S., & Wagner, J. (2018). Common change theories and application to different nursing situations. In J. Wagner (Ed.), Leadership and influencing change in nursing [eBook Edition]. University of Regina Press. Web.