3 Ways to Overcome Resistance to Change in Your Organization


By: AffirmHealth

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Date: 02/10/2020

Filed Under: clinical practice improvement activities

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts." -Arnold Bennett

As a digital health company aiming to drive safe and responsible prescribing across healthcare organizations, the quote above resonates with us.

Our mission is to provide clinical leaders and prescribers the necessary tools to prescribe opioids responsibly without taking them out of their workflow. We understand that implementing a change across an organization (particularly a healthcare organization) can be a daunting task. It requires buy-in from healthcare leaders and practicing clinicians. Further, the change must provide true, measurable value and not be looked at as simply another thing to do for those with an overwhelmingly busy schedule.

Through our experience partnering with healthcare organizations to implement our Shield platform , we have identified 3 key areas to overcome resistance to organizational change.

change management

1. Planning and preparation for change

Properly planning for change may seem like an obvious aspect of change management, yet fully addressing the inevitable resistance  to the change requires thorough preparation.

If you have a detailed plan for implementing change, then preparing your resources should be straightforward, however, straightforward does not necessarily mean easy.  Of all the resources to prepare, the people involved will be the most critical. Humans have opinions, fears, and desires that drive them. In healthcare, where consistent processes are like unicorns, 100 individuals commonly have 100 different ways of doing the same thing. Over time, people begin forming their own systems for operating that work best for them. When implementing a new change, you must understand that it will be viewed as a detractor from their process.

The most important thing you can do when preparing the individuals within your organization for change is to promote transparency and communication. Not only should you clearly communicate the reasons for change, the procedures for change, and the benefits of change, but you should also create an environment for people to share their concerns and feedback as well. Listening is an aspect of preparation that ensures people feel supported throughout the transition. You must consistently highlight how the change will make their lives easier, not harder, and be willing to listen to any and all concerns.  Preparing your team for the change is one of the best ways to reduce resistance.

When we partner with organizations, our first step is taking a deep dive into their policies and processes around prescribing in order to meet the client exactly where they are. This allows us to fully understand what already exists so we can better support the organization throughout the implementation, and ensure the roll-out goes as smoothly as possible.

2. Implement change with realistic objectives

With a firm plan in place, the next phase of change is implementation. Our team is dedicated to walking through each phase of the implementation with our customers. We are well aware that the implementation process can be an intimidating one—that’s why we break it down into small, bite-size phases. We work with our clients to determine certain practices or clinicians that will be the first adopters. Next, we plan the roll-out with that group. The on-boarding process focuses on the small group, and we’re constantly gauging the feedback. If necessary, we will repeat this process with a second cohort, incorporating the feedback from the previous group.

Throughout these first several phases, we are learning and adapting to make a larger scale on-boarding optimal. The reality it that the process will never be completely optimized, however, by taking a step-wise approach, you mitigate the potential for resistance.

3. Team training for your success

Finally, it is critical to empower your employees to embrace the change by providing proper training for everyone. In healthcare technology implementations, training is critically important—it is also a balancing act. You must ensure the training is straightforward, intuitive, and efficient.

At AffirmHealth, we are committed to training every organization to utilize the Shield software platform successfully. By making our training intuitive and timely, our hope is to add a "viral" coefficient to the on-boarding process. We work to establish champions of the tool early in the process--these individuals have been working with the software the longest, have an in-depth understanding of how the platform benefits them, and have often provided the feedback that helped to steer product development. Champions can encourage and help their peers quickly adjust to any changes and expedite the training process. We know that integrating a new software platform can oftentimes be challenging, but AffirmHealth is poised to execute the transition so that your team maximizes the benefits.

The Shield software platform operates within clinicians' workflow to enable them to responsibly prescribe opioids while simultaneously offering health system administrators visibility into prescribing intelligence and ensuring their organization follows internal protocols and state and federal regulations.

Shield helps you provide proper care to your patients while protecting your organization. Schedule a call to learn more about how AffirmHealth makes the implementation of Shield seamless:

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