Communication + Project Champions = Adoption

By Mary Theel, RN, MSN, Senior Consultant, Application Services

The initial goal of any technical implementation is to have a group of users engaged in the project. Engagement happens when there is acceptance and support in making the change. Successful project implementation involves identifying advocates for the project – those that will support and embrace the goals of the project. The success of an implementation is directly related to the amount of user support.

Communication is a critical element for successful implementation. Communication can occur in several forms: verbal, nonverbal, demonstration, discussion, and training. All forms of communication are used for a successful implementation. Communication needs to be addressed during the planning phase: what is communicated, the methodology of communication and assigning a resource that will oversee communication. Effective communication provides information that promotes user acceptance or engagement.

Communication is a dynamic process and will take on different stages during the project. Initially, a clear definition and goals of the implementation need to be presented. This is when the project is “sold” with an interactive discussion of why the change is needed. Content should define features of the system or upgrade, benefits to the end-user, and plans for future use. Address the potential impact and outcomes.” This communication builds relationships and these project advocates can be driving forces for the change. When they choose to be a champion or superuser, they participate in the decisions and advocate for the project to their peers.

Project planning needs to address potential risks and take measures to mitigate these risks. The project team also needs to identify those users that are resistant to the change. Communicate persuasively to these people, discussing the project changes and benefits. However, we encourage you to also listen to their input. Although the feedback may be negative, they may raise questions or offer ideas that actually benefit the outcome of the project.

The end goal is to have the change or new functionality adopted by the users. This encompasses all users, not just the champions and superusers. Successful adoption only occurs when the change is actually used. Training and ongoing communication need to be available to all users to retain engagement and sustained adoption.

At HPG, our expertise goes far beyond EHR implementation. By connecting as a partner for our clients and working as an extension of their team, we provide the highest levels of support, agility and strategic guidance available. Our expert consultants are ready to assist with similar projects in the future.