A healthcare analytics portal can be a powerful tool for improving cross-team collaboration and knowledge management within an organization. With a healthcare analytics portal, assets are accessible across teams, creating broader impact and fostering an analytics-driven and innovative work culture.
Designing an engaging, functional and valuable analytics portal is an important factor for ensuring enthusiastic adoption and use of the portal, but a second and equally important component to a seamless adoption is something that may not have been considered – developing a change management plan that drives the smooth implementation and adoption of a new analytics portal. Forethought about how to manage the change of the new analytics portal should be thorough and deliberate and consider each step of the process - researching, designing, building, launching, maintaining and managing improvements of the analytics portal.
Change is hard. Inevitably, technological change within an organization can either result in cheers, suspicious side-glances, or even heel-digging, arm-crossing “nos”. Managing a change in culture is the most challenging aspect of introducing technological improvements, such as analytics portals. For successful change management, a plan should consider and focus on both the practical and emotional benefits of the change. In the case of a healthcare analytics portal, the practical advantages to tout are increased ROI on data, accessibility and knowledge exchange. The emotional benefits may include improved job satisfaction (through visibility of individual and team efforts across the organization), feelings of inclusion (through better communication and collaboration between teams), and less frustration (due to easy access to resources and information).
For the widest adoption of a new analytics portal and smoothest transition, focus on a few change management principles: be inclusive, transparent and informative. These principles can be built into the entire lifecycle of the analytics portal from research and training to launch. Before the start of the project, identify several timepoints throughout development where users can participate and information and project status can be shared across the organization.
The act of interviewing leadership, stakeholders and users during the discovery phase is not only essential for gathering information about current processes, user needs, pain points and behaviors, but it starts to plant the seeds for smooth adoption down the road. These initial conversations introduce the idea of the upcoming change and also elevate stake and interest in the project. This is also a good point to start thinking about and planning for the introduction of the analytics portal to the rest of the organization. Work with leadership to define key messaging, identify the right communication channels, document an action plan and detect potential roadblocks.
The goal of creating a great user experience should drive the design and development of the analytics portal. The analytics portal should be valuable, actionable, engaging and accessible. The folks who will be using the portal every day are the best source for feedback as to whether the designs are hitting those marks. Testing of the system is another milestone for including stakeholders and users. Make sure design, development and testing are not happening in a vacuum. By including stakeholders and users in these steps of the process, the change is also being carefully managed. When people are aware of the progress of the project and are feeling included in the process, the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the upcoming change drops.
A complete and thorough training program is essential to ensure the adoption and use of a new analytics portal. If users are confused on how to use the portal, they will avoid it. Building a successful training program is an art that often requires a specialized team either internally or externally that can analyze training needs, develop a curriculum and deliver instructor-led and/or web training sessions.
Train users in advance of the launch, so they are prepared on launch day. Make all of the training materials easy to access. Once the analytics portal is up and running, highlight important training content on the homepage, and make all training resources easily accessible. Consider training an ongoing process instead of a one-time event. When you properly train your users, you are informing them. Informed users will embrace a new analytics portal faster than confused users.
A pilot phase is a great opportunity to observe a group of select super-users using the analytics portal and gather feedback. Pilot users become fully invested, and can help spread word about the benefits of the analytics portal to others. A pilot phase can also act as a soft-launch phase of a transition plan, so that the official portal launch does not feel as much of an abrupt change across the organization.
One the analytics portal has launched, continue to gather user feedback in order to make improvements on future iterations. This continuous improvement loop helps to elevate user experience, but also gives all users a sense of ownership in the project. Because the analytics portal is system that will evolve and improve over time, that makes having a solid change management plan in place all that more important.
Successful change should be led from both the top-down and the bottom-up. Get the support of leadership from the start, engage with stakeholders throughout and then identify “change agents” from all levels of the organization to support and advocate for the new analytics portal. These key players will not only provide essential input during the analytics portal development process but will also promote the analytics portal to their teams. Getting buy-in from folks at all levels ensures that the upcoming analytics portal will start to become part of the conversation at team meetings and included in strategy and planning efforts. There will also be a shift in culture, with the comfort level surrounding the new analytics portal improving.
Well ahead of the launch, start promoting the benefits of the upcoming analytics portal and announce events such as calls for focus group participants, approaching training dates and, of course, the big launch date. Exposure is key. Leverage the expertise of your marketing team to get the word out through company-wide emails, talking points at team meetings, announcements on internal websites or existing portals, and the oldie-but-goodie - flyers posted in common areas. Informing through advertising will ease any anxieties that may exist about the new analytics portal. It is no longer an unknown or unexpected event, but rather a welcome and anticipated event.
So, before diving into the development of a new analytics portal, consider from the start how this portal will impact existing systems, processes and users and how that change will be carefully managed along the whole journey. Deliberate steps should be taken to ensure that the organization is being inclusive, transparent and informative about the new analytics portal across the entire organization. Eliminate the element of surprise and ease anxieties. Find ways to cultivate support and excitement. The change management plan can be executed all along the way and in sync with the development of the analytics portal. Once the launch date arrives for the new analytics portal, users will welcome the new addition and the efficiencies it brings. If there is any straggler in your organization left asking “what analytics portal?” it will only be because they are just returning from their remote, off-the-grid, months-long sabbatical. Point them to the training materials, ASAP!