Medical techniques and processes are always changing, in most cases for the better. This is a good thing, because it means that you have more tools at your disposal to best care for your patients, but it also means that you need to communicate these new services or processes to your staff and clients both quickly and efficiently. What are the best ways to communicate these changes to your colleagues and clients?
1. Make A Detailed Plan
As the old saying goes, ‘prior planning prevents poor performance’ and in this case, a detailed roll-out plan will be one of your best tools to help you communicate a new product or service to your team.
“To tell you the truth, we have been preparing for this day for over two years,” says Jennifer Holcomb, Director of Memory Support at Cross Keys Village, a senior living community that recently opened a new memory care center. “To give you just one example, we decided early on that Brookside [the new center] would have no hallways. None. We designed a floorplan that encourages discovery and socialization rather than confusion and frustration.”
To implement a similarly long-term plan at your practice, think about the following details early on in the process:
- A detailed timeline. Knowing when and where certain parts of your new service or process are expected to be at any given time is the best way to keep everything on the right track.
- All pertinent information. Don’t expect your team to be able to roll out a new program if they’re kept in the dark about some details. Open communication is vital.
- Individual roles. If your team members are going to have individual roles or responsibilities during the implementation of the new project, make sure that these roles are clear.
- Any required training. If your new technique is going to require additional training, for your team your customers or both, this should also be included in your roll-out plan.
While your plan might change once you begin to implement the new processes, it’s always good to have an outline for what needs to be done.
2. Don’t Wait
Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to inform your team or clients of any changes. That will leave both parties scrambling to figure out what needs to be done and how to react. When people are scrambling to figure things out, mistakes get made and this is one field that you really don’t want to make any unnecessary mistakes.
Let your team and clients know as soon as you’re going to make changes to your practice. If you utilize an email mailing list for your clients, consider sending out a notification email just to let them know that a change is coming. If you don’t have a mailing list, consider setting one up – in today’s connected world it is the best way to keep your clients appraised of changes in your practice.
3. Make it About The Big Picture
Let’s face it – no one likes hearing that their business or boss is about to make a big change or a big purchase when it could prevent them from getting a raise or bonus in the future. If handled incorrectly, it’s likely to cause problems within your staff’s teams.
The key to preventing these problems is to let everyone know what the big picture is. Don’t say “We’re spending $50,000 on a new piece of equipment for this new procedure.” Instead, introduce everyone to the long term plan. Tell them that yes, there may be a big purchase in the future, but it’s to grow your practice and enable you to help patients in new and exciting ways.
Also be sure to tell your staff how these changes will benefit them. Let them know about any new training that will be provided and how it will improve their skill sets and interaction with clients.
Holcomb says that Cross Keys’ training for their new memory care center’s staff has been so successful that other healthcare services have started to notice. “No matter what your responsibility is, if you work at Brookside you will receive some solid ongoing education about neurocognitive disorders,” she says. “This training has proved so popular that I have been asked to adapt some modules for other organizations – EMS teams for example, that deal with disoriented and stressed elders on a regular basis.”
It just goes to show, effective communication can impact your clients even outside of your individual organization.
4. Maintain Your Momentum
The biggest mistake that you can make when implementing your new plan or technique is to think that it will carry itself once you get the ball rolling. That momentum won’t last if you don’t maintain it. Keep up with your plan and be prepared to make changes if necessary to makes sure that your plan continues to fruition without running into any problems.
It might take putting your shoulder to the wheel to keep it turning, but whatever it takes, you’re not going to be able to implement anything without a bit of elbow grease.
There is nothing quite like being able to help your patients in new and exciting ways. Just follow these tips and your new practices, procedures, and techniques will be successful.