1. Cohen, Shelley RN, BSN, CEN


Review tips you may use to implement technological changes in your facility.


Technology remains right by our side as health care changes, requiring us to review patient systems and processes for efficiency.


Although some staff members may be computer proficient, others remain fearful of computer use. Their fears may revolve around making an entry error or committing a mistake that negatively affects the entire computer system.


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Tech tips


As you explore options for departmental technology changes and begin to implement them, consider these tips:


[white diamond suit] Involve staff in every step, from research to implementation.


[white diamond suit] Identify computer literate staff early on and designate them as ongoing resources for the rest of the team:


1. Teach them how to be preceptors and resources.


2. Offer opportunities for them to attend outside meetings.


3. Involve them directly with vendor representatives.


4. Identify recognition and rewards appropriate for their involvement.


[white diamond suit] Create and document a timeline for staff, charting training and implementation dates.


[white diamond suit] Provide ongoing clarification and reminders of upcoming change.


[white diamond suit] When organizing educational components for your staff, be willing to increase not only the time, but also learning curve expectations.


[white diamond suit] Be overtly supportive of staff members who require more attention and time.


[white diamond suit] Remember to involve medical staff, patients, and caregivers by preparing written materials that clearly identify the new technology's benefits.


The challenges of change


Once you've gone live with either your new computer program, equipment, or supply management system, share the accomplishment with the community you serve.


As leaders, we need to proactively define to consumers the relationship between health care and technology. By doing so, we increase their awareness, helping to alleviate their technology fears. The information you share informs them of how you're using technology to improve their care.


As is true with any change, you may anticipate certain types of challenges more easily than others. Consider these tips:


[white diamond suit] Network with other managers familiar with a similar technological initiative and invite them to share the challenges they overcame.


[white diamond suit] Review current facility procedures regarding electronic medical records, patient privacy, Internet access, and e-mail use. If no policies exist, initiate a team development.


[white diamond suit] Include the aforementioned policies in staff education, clarifying repercussions for noncompliance.


[white diamond suit] Be prepared for the unexpected, such as staff with advanced computer skills attempting to work around the safety guards.


[white diamond suit] Initiate a relationship with the information systems department early in the project.



Although we're excited by the advances technology brings, as leaders, we need to ensure that our key decisions on progress always reflect the most important aspect of health care-the best interest of the patient.