New health roster customers (2): surgeons

June 11, 2018news

HosPortal is having great success in expanding our rostering to the non-anaesthetic craft groups, such as physicians, surgeons and radiologists (see last blog post).

The organisational change challenge

But the issues of growing to new customers are not always technical, as our earlier radiology example explained. Some are behavioural: how to get doctors to use the new rostering tools, and what are the effects of increased transparency over rosters, allocations and leave.

You would hope that the members of the HosPortal leadership team who have spent years in management consulting would find the change management task a doddle. But unlike the comparatively compliant and suggestible employees of banking, manufacturing and consumer goods companies that management consultants deal with every day, changing the behaviours of doctors, especially in a hospital environment, is a unique degree of difficulty.

We certainly do not advocate the 31 steps recommended by some change management professionals, as shown in the illustration*, but getting doctors through even 1 step is a challenge.

Undertaking change with doctors

So what works?

  • Get an influential doctor on side, such as the head of department. They may not be able to change the behaviour of their doctors either, but you will need someone to cry with when the going gets tough.
  • Circulate simple and accessible information on what is happening. Any more than a 1-page PDF with big, well-labelled graphics is too much.
  • Only include the information that is immediately relevant to the doctors in the first few days. Anything else will be ignored or forgotten.
  • Consider prayer or wine in periods of frustration or self-reflection. We found the latter more helpful.

*Thanks to the Association of Change Management Professionals for this illustration....but the fact that this is a serious proposition illustrates why HosPortal's management team decided that health technology was a better career than management consulting

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