By Christopher Rousset, Regional Director Americas, LMS365
Healthcare organizations are under a greater mandate than most sectors to stay current with technology. Investment in healthcare technology is growing rapidly, but implementing these technologies isn’t just a simple matter of stick it and forget it. Healthcare organizations can easily fall into the same trap that those in other industries do: allocating most of the budget to the technology itself and little to training. However, this approach works at cross-purposes, since unless employees are able to fully use the technology, your organization will not be able to realize the return-on-investment. This is why training is so pivotal to maximizing your technology spend.
Though new technology holds the promise of huge gains, many enterprises don’t reap the full benefits due to poor implementation. PricewaterhouseCoopers noted recently that though companies are continuing to make significant technology investments, many of those investments have yielded disappointing returns. A significant reason is that most organizations don’t put sufficient emphasis on the training component of technology investments.
That’s a huge misstep. Introducing a technology is primarily about changes in culture and ways of working. It’s human nature that the prospect of change can lead to feelings of anxiety, worry and confusion. Change can also threaten personal and professional comfort, forcing employees to adapt to something they might not fully comprehend.
Though training empowers employees to embrace and fully use new technology, the largest contributing factor in low user adoption is insufficient training. Even when it’s built into their budget, some IT decision-makers still don’t authorize training. Global Knowledge found that 41% of these leaders had formal training available but decided not to use it. Nearly 20% of IT professionals reported that management does not see a tangible benefit from training. This is a significant logic gap, particularly when IT staff strongly desire to learn and grow their careers. Without the support of leadership, however, this is rarely possible.
Training comes in a variety of forms, and they are not all equally useful. To be confident that the training they’re implementing will be the most useful to their employees – and effective for the organization overall – here are a few, specific areas that leaders should focus on:
- Promote adoption by creating content: Showcase how the new technology will help employees in their day-to-day work. It’s important that organizations use the communication tools and training tools that they have in order to spread the word about the tools that are available and how to use them – before a wave of negativity comes in from those who haven’t been properly trained. (Think about the example of restaurant review sites like Yelp – people are more likely to voice negative opinions than positive ones, so it’s important to get out in front of this.)
- Solicit and use feedback: Learning is not a one-way street. Healthcare organizations need to be open-minded and receptive to what users are requesting. A true collaborative workspace is one where users can go and learn about a solution but also provide feedback on how they think the solution could work better for them. This creates a continuous feedback loop of what users are actually looking for, how they’re using the systems and what improvements they’d like to see.
- Study use of the technology: Learn what the expectations are in a digital workplace. In such a collaborative scenario, users generate a lot of content: chats, uploaded documents, video calls and so on. And over time, it grows organically. All the information that’s being generated in the digital workspace needs to be searchable. People want to be able to go back and see what someone told them three months ago, for example.
- Find technology cheerleaders: To foster increased awareness, find internal champions who are passionate about the tool and will spread the word to others.
When deploying a new technology, it helps to bear in mind these three best practices. First, consider using a learning platform. Learning platforms can be key to helping ensure you have the right training in place to maximize technology investments. These platforms store, manage and deliver the training components that people need in order to effectively use the technology you’ve invested in. Typically, this would be a learning management system – an adoption tool that delivers and targets the right users with the right information so they can be successful using the new technology.
The next best practice involves selecting a learning platform not only suitable for your current needs but that can adapt and grow with your business. Look for a platform that is mature and for which there is a strong roadmap backed by a strong organization, one with a track record of keeping up with the latest technologies. For example, with respect to collaborative workspaces and learning environments, two of the big buzzwords are AI and virtual reality. Find out which learning platforms support or plan to support technologies like this.
Finally, the third best practice is to pay attention to what your employees are telling you. As noted above, it’s extremely important to pay attention to the needs, wants and expectations of those who will be using the learning platform. In fact, this is the key to success. The importance of ensuring you’re addressing employees’ needs from the start when choosing a learning platform cannot be overstated.
As part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, healthcare organizations must stay abreast of the latest technological advances in order to best serve consumers of their services. But organizations must acquire the training to use new technology as well as the technology itself or risk failure of their investment. Employees must know that new tools exist and receive the training needed to maximize their effectiveness. The suggestions and best practices outlined above will help you successfully roll out technologies that will serve employees and consumers alike.