New software rollout and training
Big data, a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools, is becoming more and more prevalent. And, there are few places as rich in big data as hospitals and healthcare systems. As data grows, so too does the need for applications, programs and technology better equipped to manage the data and make correlations between data sets for individual patients. That’s why the healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable to product development and new software rollouts.Sometimes it seems like new platforms for healthcare data management are developed and implemented before you know how to use them, making it difficult for you and your team to keep up. But it doesn’t have to be. Consider these gems of advice to ease the transition next time your organization makes changes or introduces new software.

After the announcement
You may get a two-month head’s up or a two-week notice before it executes sweeping changes to your current software system. The best thing you can do as a manager is to tell your team: As soon as you know, let them know.

  • Send an email through the office Intranet and invite everyone to an open meeting. Tell them to come with questions and supply memo books in advance to emphasize the importance of their participation and your transparency about the switch.
  • Augment the notice with a little guidance. Do some online digging to find out more about the system and encourage your team members to do the same. Then, share the resources you’ve found with the help of an online forum. Use www.forum.com to start a group conversation about the new software and distribute login credentials so that everyone has the ability to see and contribute to the conversation.
  • At the first open meeting, distribute hard copies of some of the most salient articles or blog posts you found relating to the new software and hand these out to your team in document envelopes meant specifically for the transition. That way, all documents relating to the transition are in one place.

Supplement training
Your team might be apprehensive about the upcoming formal training for a number of reasons: It will likely entail a visit by executives from company headquarters and contributors from the software company; it may last one day or several; and, it might be a little tedious. Keep the nerves and the boredom at bay with these ideas:

  • Have a few planning suggestions in mind for the training session and communicate them to your visitors. One suggestion may be to have a 20-minute instruction period followed by a 20-minute discussion period. Another suggestion may be to integrate intervals of group work and interactive exercises so that training program participants have a chance to immediately apply what they’re learning.
  • Have a stash of high-energy foods ready to hand out when the going gets tough. Think jelly beans and lollypops.
  • Make it engaging by incorporating social media. For instance, start a Twitter® conversation with a unique hash tag and project a live feed on a screen at the front of the facility visible to both presenters and participants. That way, people can express their enthusiasm or their concern and any questions they may have.
  • The training session is a great venue to generate enthusiasm about your organization. Set up a display that celebrates the training’s completion and have an array of promotional goodies like pens and key chains for company employees as a reminder they made it through the latest software upgrade.

New software and training doesn’t have to be a pain. Practice some preventative measures to keep any apathy and anxiety away from the training event. As a final method to make it all worthwhile, encourage your team to get excited about the new learning opportunities that come with a new platform. Appear positive to your team and your team will respond accordingly.

“Big Data.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Oct. 2012. Web. 01 Nov. 2012.

Manjoo, Farhad. “Big Changes Are Ahead For The Health Care Industry, Courtesy Of Big Data.” Big Changes Are Ahead For The Health Care Industry, Courtesy Of Big Data | Fast Company. Fast Company, 18 June 2012. Web. 18 Oct. 2012.

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