Technology may be the key to transforming organizations like the NHS

(29 October 2015)

IT innovation is not without risk, but BT’s recent study highlights four primary factors key to effective implementation

Entering the latter half of October, we wanted to recognize the many national health-related observances that take place this month – Breast Cancer Awareness, Down Syndrome Awareness and Physical Therapy Month to name a few. Recognizing that the healthcare industry is undergoing many changes to better support patients and clinicians, our recently released case study takes a look at how to secure a successful outcome from technological changes in organizations like the NHS.

While there are many risks associated with IT change – high costs, failure, disruptive service and damaged reputations – working to transform the human systems around these advances will be what makes the difference. In the full study, we highlight four factors that are key to effective implementation:

1. Focus on the patient

2. Win the hearts and minds of clinicians

3. Think in systems and flows not organizations and departments

4. Give workforce development as much priority as technical development

Patients will accept change if they see a tangible benefit for their health and care. For example, Telehealth utilization showcases the importance of designing technology with people in mind, with 90 percent of those surveyed claiming they benefited from this practice.

To win the hearts and minds of medical staff, these professionals must see a positive change for themselves and their patients, particularly if the technology improves productivity, enables them to deliver a higher quality of service and makes their working lives easier. However, it is paramount to have medical staff involved during development.

In addition to corporate governance and policy, the transition of individual organizations into robust systems is typically stunted by difficulties associated with sharing information quickly, simply and securely, and organizational barriers that would prohibit any exchange at all. Resolving these issues requires leaders who are focused on patients first.

In the end, the power of technology lies in its ability to disrupt existing methods and enable a change in human behavior. So, successfully introducing new ways of working depends on identifying necessary cultural changes as well as providing technological infrastructure to support the patient or professional.

Breast cancer, Down’s syndrome, and physical therapy are all healthcare verticals that consistently work toward technological advancement, and successful transformation of these programs will be driven by great vision and leadership built around the needs of patients and staff. This means putting the two groups of people who will be depending on the new technology at the heart of its design and implementation. Involving staff at every stage of development will result in outcomes that reflect the practical needs of their work, ultimately improving the lives of patients.