The aim of introducing telemedicine in healthcare settings is to reduce the expenses and workload of doctors as well as to stop the spread of the disease across the country. However, the adoption of new standards of medical help may present some difficulties for healthcare personnel. Adopting new telemedical standards is a challenge for the change management process since decisions will have to be made as to the best way to the plan’s implementation.
A family Medicine Clinic has long been the leading institution providing quality healthcare for families and individuals alike. However, with the onset of the pandemic, it faced the inability to consult many of its patients offline due to the COVID limitations and the lack of personnel, many of whom got ill. In an attempt to maintain its high-quality services, the clinic embarks on the change management program that presupposes an extensive use of telemedicine in healthcare practices. The success of this initiative will largely depend on how the clinic’s management approach this issue.
To make the planned innovation work effectively, it is necessary to adopt seven steps for successful change that will allow the staff to fully embrace the innovation. First of all, energy for change must be mobilized. At this stage, employees get acquainted with telemedicine technology and its benefits for medical staff and patients as well. The second stage presupposes developing a new strategy and values (Locke, 2011). Given that in a pandemic, the disease is easily transformed from one person to another, the strategy of implementing telemedical consultations will embrace such values as personnel health and timely help to all patients in need. The third stage comprises the identification of barriers on the way to change (Locke, 2011). In telemedicine, such barriers will primarily lie with the lack of suitable IT infrastructure within the clinic and the unwillingness of older personnel to develop digital competencies. In the fourth stage, a vision of how new medical processes using telemedicine will be organized is to be developed. At this stage, it is necessary to consider the equipment needed and its costs, the software that will be used for telemedical communications, and training programs necessary for the staff.
The fifth stage presupposes the dialogue between the management and the staff, where employees are free to voice their concerns about the coming telemedical transformation. For the communication to be effective, all employees’ concerns must be addressed in a timely and comprehensive manner. The sixth step presupposes support for behavior change that can be organized in form of additional training for the staff. Lastly, continuous progress must be ensured through constant monitoring of doctor-to-patient interaction by telemedical applications.
First of all, the managers should determine the types of services and cases when telemedicine will be used in the clinic. Secondly, the clinic’s telecommunications resources must be evaluated, and the needed hardware bought and software installed. Thirdly, the managers must make a list of doctors who will provide telemedicine services; their schedule will have to be changed to include telemedical shifts. Fourthly, the rules of remuneration must be elaborated if the provision of telemedical care goes beyond the working schedule. Finally, the algorithm of work in the telemedical application should be elaborated so that doctors experience no difficulties in engaging in a new kind of work.
Locke, E. (Ed.). (2011). Handbook of principles of organizational behavior: Indispensable knowledge for evidence-based management. John Wiley & Sons.