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Organizational Change Plan
Change is continuous phenomenon in any organization and occurs on a continuous basis. Successful implementation of change requires the input of both employees and management. In the provision of health care services, efficiency in patient processing is heightened through implementation of a paperless system. A patient check-in system that involves paper work is time-consuming and tedious; consequently, influencing the speed within which care is given. A paperless system aims at expediting care delivery, hence prioritizing the patients wellbeing. This paper discusses critical aspects of change, such as need for change, barriers and factors that influence change, organizational readiness, available resources and change of theoretical models.
Need for the Proposed Change
The availability of adequate time that allows health care professionals to provide accurate health assessments and patient care is essential. Therefore, a paperless check-in system reduces patient waiting time leading to faster service delivery and incremental patient satisfaction. An expedited patient check-in system enables health professionals to attend to their patients at the appointed time. In the event if patients are not attended promptly and are subjected to long waiting times, they may presume that their wellbeing is not a priority to the health providers. Patient check-in systems that entail the use of paper work require a significant amount of time to complete. Therefore, in case of emergency such a process would cause the patient more discomfort or derail urgent need for medical care.
The check-in procedure involves a patient checking in with the registration clerk. Patient information is entered into the system and is subsequently printed out for the nurses indicating the patients details. Since charting is done electronically, the check-in process is captured in the electronic system. Consequently, electronic information is readily available to all the relevant caregivers or staff; hence they privy to the patient check-in data and location of the patient. The change is intended to ensure that check-in systems are automated, such that over-reliance on check-in clerks to fill in paper forms is eliminated. Furthermore, an automated and paperless check-in system transmits patient data accurately to all the relevant medical systems in real time (Healthinformatics, 2013).
A paperless check-in systems ensures that patients are not subjected to long waiting times; as a result, the relevant departments, medical units and caregivers are notified automatically once a patient is checked in. This minimizes the incidence of human error, where patients are left unattended or subjected to prolonged waiting times because the nurse was not aware or the paper work has not been promptly filed with the relevant caregivers.
Organizational and Individual Barriers
Change is often met with various barriers both organizational and individual. Organizational barriers to changing from a paperless to the computerized system include disruption of critical functions resulting from server, computer or power failure in the facility. However, in the event that one computer terminal fails, a nurse can access patients details in any other functional computer terminal in the other room (Graetz, Rimmer, Smith & Lawrence, 2011). This is made possible since every examination room has a computerized terminal that is networked with Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) (Healthinformatics, 2013).
In the event that the central server fails, there should be a backup system that acts as a contingency arises. This may entail reverting to the based system or a computer backup system that comes into effect if the primary system fails. In case of power failure, a power back up system should come into effect ensuring that automated medical systems that keep patients alive have adequate power supply. However, in circumstance that the power backup system cannot sustain the whole facility, critical areas must be prioritized in power allocations. Meanwhile, the management should make prior arrangements to transfer patients to other medical facilities in the event that power or system failure persists.
Individual barriers to change include fear of the unknown, unwillingness to change habits, perceived or actual stress and loss of the familiar (Graetz et al., 2011). Significantly, staff may not be willing to support the change for individual reasons. These may include the fear that a paperless computerized system will entail loss of jobs for various employees. Furthermore, some professionals may not be willing to rely on some of the computerized medical functions such as diagnostic systems. Employees may perceived the new patient check-in system as stressful leading; hence their resistance to change. Some employees may want things to remain as they are since the new system may entail a change in their roles or duties. As such, employees may suffer in terms of their position or power within the organization, which may be reduced.
Factors That Might Influence the Change
Among the factors that influence change processes are employee involvement in the change process, communication and health facilities environment (Markiewicz, 2011). Change has the capacity to overwhelm employees if not adequately managed and presented to them. Adequate communication with both the management and staff before and during the change process is essential in ensuring that employees are able to convey their issues (Arlbj?rn & Haug, 2010). This allows them to take on change in a positive light; consequently, developing a positive environment for change in the entire healthcare facility. Involvement of employees in the change process entails enabling them to present ideas on the optimal ways for change implementation. This allows them to identify with the change process.
Factors Influencing Organizational Readiness
Successful implementation of change significantly relies on the extent to which the organization is ready for change. This is depicted in the staff intentions, beliefs and attitudes towards change and organizations capacity to change (Graetz et al., 2011). Significant factors that influence change include the availability of resources, organizational commitment and climate. Health institution should have an organizational climate that entails the staff having faith that the management is receptive to their ideas and is supportive of them.
The involvement of staff characterizes the means within which change implementation occurs. Accordingly, employees are increasingly committed to the change implementation if they have confidence in the organization. This will ensure that the staff is committed to assisting the organization to implement change. It is essential that the staff believes that they have the organizations support, consequently reciprocating their support to the organization (Markiewicz, 2011). The availability of resources is a critical component in the change process. Adequate resources reflect the organizations dedication to training and educating employees on their new roles, procedures and functions of the new system. Support staff availability after change has been implemented ensuring that any issues arising or queries are promptly addressed.
Change is implemented following the defined frameworks that best describe the needs, structures and functions of the organization. In the health environment context, Kurt Lewins change theory presents an optimal framework for change implementation. Kurt Lewins change theory describes change process as entailing unfreezing, moving and refreezing (Arlbj?rn & Haug, 2010). In the health care context, significance of changing the patient check-in process was recognized; consequently, staff was informed and educated on the significance of change. It describes the unfreezing process. The moving aspect of change entails the implementation of change. Staff will be informed on the methodology and protocols, within which the change occurs, and their roles in the process. Once change has been implemented, the refreezing process is initiated, making the implemented change the norm and permanent.
Availability of Internal and External Resources
The availability of resources will enable successful change implementation. The CPRS system is among the resources that will facilitate smooth transition from the paper check-in system to the paperless check-in system (Healthinformatics, 2013). Support staff and computer technicians will ensure that the new system is adequately maintained to preserve the integrity of patient data and ID of staff members in using the new system. Meanwhile, patients are the primary external resource that requires qualitative and quantitative service delivery. Patient response and feedback will provide adequate information on the effectiveness of the new system, hence the change process. This will determine benefits and drawbacks of the new system.
Organizations are constantly changing in order to adapt new technologies, improve service delivery to their consumers and develop their products to reflect consumer needs and wants. A paperless check-in system takes into account expedited care delivery, reduced waiting costs and embraces new technologies that enhance patients experiences. The identification of factors that influence change is essential in the development of optimal change implementation strategy that meets organizational goals. The adoption of strategic change framework ensures that change implementation phases are in line with change objectives.