Innovation is a process that has become vital in the contemporary world associated with rapid development and tight competition in all types of industries and sectors. In healthcare, innovation is responsible for the quality and excellence of care and determines the effectiveness of an organization. In that way, healthcare organizations aiming at the provision of high-quality services and staying on top of the competition in the area are forced to embrace change and employ innovative practices for growth and improvement. At the same time, innovation is a highly challenging practice that involves a wide range of processes and operations and thus can produce a significant impact on the entire organization.
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Depending on the success of the innovation, this impact can be either positive or adverse. That is why the management of innovation is critical to its successful implementation and integration in the organization’s everyday life and functions. The current paper is focused on the creation of a plan and discussion of innovative practices that can be applied to address challenges present in a specific organization of choice. The institution selected for this paper is the University of Malaya Medical Centre located in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia. The medical center is faced with challenges related to the integration of information communication technology (ICT). In particular, some of the major challenges that the organization has encountered regarding the implementation of this innovative project were the lack of integration of ICT and the lack of training among the staff expected to use ICT. These challenges will be the focal points of the innovation strategy discussed in this paper.
Description of the Organisation
The organization chosen for this paper is the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC). This medical center is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The UMMC is known to be the largest teaching hospital in the country; its total capacity is 1200 beds (Bindakheel & Rosnah, 2010). The UMMC operates in one of the biggest areas of Kuala Lumpur and serves a very large segment of the population. As a result, the institution has to manage a large amount of data and maintain fast and effective communication within its units and departments helping the staff members to fulfill their duties with the highest level of efficiency.
To improve patient safety and the productivity of services and operations, the UMMC leaders decided to adopt ICT. However, in the process of the implementation of this change, the organization started to face significant challenges. The most significant issues included the lack of sufficient training for the staff that had to use the ICT, and the flawed and slow integration of the system that served as a barrier to the successful change (Bindakheel & Rosnah, 2010). In that way, regardless of the recognition of the benefits presented by the ICT by the staff, its introduction could not be properly accomplished (Bindakheel & Rosnah, 2010). Discussing the problems faced by the UMMC throughout the implementation of change, it is important to point out that the organization was rather limited in terms of funds. Differently put, the scarcity of financial resources was one of the main catalysts of the problems.
At the same time, it is also critical to mention that the adoption and integration of ICT in medical organizations and facilities have been recognized as highly beneficial for the performance of the organizations in terms of the improvement of their productivity, the effectiveness of services, and patient safety (Mukuna, 2016). The benefits offered by the integration and use of ICT in medical organizations are also highly appreciated by the staff since the adoption of ICT and its introduction into the work processes of medical practitioners is associated with such outcomes as the elimination of redundant work, optimization of the workflow, and faster and more effective communication between staff members and teams, a higher level of precision in diagnosing, assessment, and analyses, to name a few (Bindakheel & Rosnah, 2010; Davies & Harty, 2013; Mohamed, Shafei, & Ibrahim, 2015). As a result, it is critical for the organization such as the UMMC to integrate the ICT appropriately and become able to enjoy all of the benefits.
Scope and Focus of the Innovation
The proposed innovation will focus on the provision of education and training to the staff regarding the use of the newly integrated ICT to activate the benefits it offers and eliminate the confusion and frustration among the staff members who have to avoid using ICT due to the lack of skills. The integration of various types of ICTs in organizations is usually faced with the lack of skills and desire to learn among the staff members as the major barriers to change (Awuor, Rabah, & Maake, 2013; Zakaria & Yusof, 2016). At the same time, in addition to these barriers, the staff of a medical organization is also short for time to attend educational and training sessions (Manuere, Gwangwava, & Gutu, 2013). Moreover, when it comes to the adoption of ICT in organizations in the developing countries, funding is usually one of the most significant issues that limit the implementation of change and slows down its progress (van Stam et al., 2012; Oyegoke, 2013). As a result, the strategy of the proposed innovation needs to take into account the aforementioned limitations and achieve the necessary goals using working within the resource-constrained boundaries of the situation.
To be more precise, the major focus of the proposed change is to provide training and education to medical personnel to improve their skills of working with the new ICT. In that way, the scope of the innovation will involve teaching sessions and the organization of these sessions in a manner that would not take much time from the learners and save costs. One of the ways to achieve that is to engage the medical center personnel members as trainers instead of hiring coaches from the outside. In particular, as specified by Pimmer, Linxen, Gröhbiel, Jha, and Burg (2013), young medical employees are often rather tech-savvy and have a good command of various communication technologies and devices. As a result, it is possible to engage the tech-savvy staff members in the creation of a training plan for the rest of the staff and spread the knowledge this way.
Regarding technology training, Kaya, Işık, and Bodur (2014) pointed out that there exists a phenomenon referred to as “computer anxiety”. This concept indicates’ the staff members’ reluctance regarding learning how to use new technology in the workplace. In that way, in addition to the lack of time and funding, the training may be also limited due to the lack of the desire to learn. In turn, to develop and sustainable strategy for the organization of choice, it is necessary to consider the following aspects:
- Scarcity of funding
- Resistance to learning
- Lack of time for training
For a better organization, the strategy can be subdivided into such important elements as people, culture, resources, and structure.
Since the present strategy relies on an in-service training session program, it can be informed by the bodies of research dedicated to this complex problem. Namely, Bluestone et al. (2013) noted that for the in-service education to be successful, it is important to incorporate multiple different learning and teaching techniques in the program. Moreover, Chaghari, Saffari, Ebadi, and Ameryoun (2017) mentioned the importance of empowerment in in-service education. In this regard, it could be useful to address the personnel’s reluctance towards the use of technology using informing them about the potential benefits and demonstrating how it benefits their peers who use the technology for work.
Before the implementation of change, it will be necessary to warn the staff about the plan to stimulate readiness for change and establish productive communication between the management and the employees. Also, Antwi and Kale (2014) noted that some of the most important elements of change management include power dynamics and organizational harmony. In that way, strong leadership needs to be established at multiple organizational levels, and a well-organized accountability system has to be in place. Knowledge management usually relies on the organization’s ability to use knowledge (Ratnapalan & Uleryk, 2014). Differently put, the training needs to cover only the technologies and operations that are used every day so that the learners could start practicing right away and also noticed the difference enabled by the training.
Addressing the issue of time scarcity, the training sessions need to be brief to fit in the tight schedules of the staff members. They also have to cover the technologies used every day so that the learners could acquire knowledge while working. Regarding the scarcity of funding, the UMMC reported being understaffed in its IT department so the existing IT personnel could be engaged in the training of the tech-savvy medical professionals so that they could work as coached for their peers later. The two approaches mentioned previously also help to address the issue of space since the practice would take place in the work premises and the number of the trainees receiving initial coaching sessions from the IT staff will be small so it could fit in a small room without taking much space.
To organize the successful in-service training provided by peers, it is necessary to assign roles and make sure that all the agents are well informed and clear about what they are supposed to be doing. Also, learning should be accomplished in groups for better effectiveness. In that way, one coach should be working with several peers. Before starting the coaching, the managers or coaches are to make sure that the latter are familiarised with the diverse teaching techniques, the critical role of practice, and the learning and communications styles that may differ from one practitioner to another and should be successfully incorporated in the training sessions.
The main outcomes that are anticipated to appear after the conclusion of the planned training and integration program include an increased level of confidence regarding operating ICT among the medical personnel, and increased use of ICT during various stages of the working process, the ability of the personnel to perform a variety of tasks using technology, and the knowledge of the technology use basics that would allow the staff members to have a better understanding of the potential new technologies that the organization may want to adopt in the future.
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In other words, the key outcomes will aim at the achievement of a good level of knowledge of the technology employed in the organization, as well as a good command of the tasks and techniques related to the use of technology. Additionally, the personnel will be expected to be aware of the responsibilities that come along with the use of ICT such as the preservation of private information and the maintenance of data security.
Resource and Risk Management
To manage time, a clear step-by-step learning plan will be created that would include the schedule according to which the training sessions will be implemented. This schedule will be compiled in strict coordination with the working hours and shifts of the trainees so that they do not have to spend too much additional time at work or give up some of their essential duties to attend classes. Trainees in different specialties will be divided into small groups each of which will have one coach whose task will be to teach and supervise the use of technology in free time and as soon as the need arises. Practically, to phase out the use of old-fashioned methods that are now replaced by the technology, the trainees will be encouraged to master the new methods and enjoy the benefits they offer.
The initial stage of the plan will include communication with the staff to inform about the upcoming change. Secondly, IT staff will be coordinated with the change managers and educators and leaders to create a teaching plan that would incorporate all the necessary tasks and skills. Further, the tech-savvy representatives of various specialties will be invited to participate in the project and receive training as coaches. The training session will be carried out by the IT staff and provide the future coaches with the materials needed for their role – description of the program, its plan, teaching, and assessment techniques. A premise of the appropriate size will be assigned depending on the size of the group. Further, based on the number of coaches and the working schedules of the staff, the following training sessions will be planned. Coaches will be asked to report about their work every week. Emergencies or problematic situations will be reported and handled immediately. The program will include one or two assessment sessions where the trainees will be asked to work individually with a supervisor (an IT department representative, a coach, or a manager) and complete several tasks using ICT. Also, a two-part survey will be conducted before and after the training project collecting the data about the attitudes toward ICT use among staff members to see the effects of the change.
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