How to establish a sustainable decision-making process
Good decision making processes are the foundation for a well-adopted system. In order to configure the system to users’ needs, you need to determine what they want to get from the system. To know what they want, you need a reasonable and efficient decision-making process that considers inputs from all the major teams impacted by the workflow. We’ve gathered some best practices from observing numerous Healthcare organizations make decisions. Whether you’re starting a new implementation or want to revise your governance process to get better input from your users, the following tips….
Remember: these are operational decisions
The biggest advantage you can have in supporting your users is to have their buy-in. Put their needs first and discuss the workflows in terms of what needs to happen. While there will be functional limitations or recommendations that require operational change, the operational needs of your organization are paramount. Make sure that your operational representatives feel ownership over the project and the decisions they make.
Represent all key areas
Workflow decisions can have wide-ranging impacts. Physician documentation can affect regulatory compliance and billing. Scheduling decisions likewise affect billing, and might impact what your patients can see or do via the portal. Having all the key players at the table ensures you consider all implications of a workflow before finalizing it.
Pick people who will be advocates for the decisions
You’ll need participation from the key areas under the scope of your project, and you’ll also need the right type of person to represent their team. You want respected leaders to make the decisions. They’ll understand what is important to their staff, and more importantly they will socialize the decisions to their staff. Prioritize leaders who can generate this sort of buy-in from the front line staff and you’ll reap the rewards when you go live.
Determine ground rules
Conflict is inevitable in the decision-making process. Whether it’s a functionality gap, a privacy concern, an extra step for caregivers or an issue capturing revenue, you will run into decisions that require compromise. It’s important that you determine how you will resolve disputes early on in your governance groups so that all members know the process. It’s also a good idea to make rules around participation, meeting frequency, soliciting input and any other areas that might present roadblocks. Having defined guidelines (and revisiting them as new issues arise) will keep your governance meetings on track. Governance groups that function well together produce better decisions for the organization.
Look ahead, not behind
A software implementation is a rare opportunity to examine the processes in your organization and identify areas for improvements. Participants need to be creative in focusing on the key elements of workflows and not using “that’s how we’ve always done it” as a reason. On the IT side, you have an obligation to prepare the group for what’s coming. Make sure they understand what is coming up in the next 30, 60 and 90 days and their role in project activities. You should be able to assess and share whether they are keeping pace with the rest of the project.
Your governance time is a precious resource; it’s crucial to put the right information in front of the right group. Most organizations have a process flow for decision-making, whereby local groups (i.e. rev cycle or clinical governance) make most decisions, and the higher level governance groups deal with integrated or especially important decisions. You’ll need to determine how you will build the agenda for each governance group. Where do new features and projects fit in? What about end user requests? There will always be more requests than each group can reasonably get to, so determining how to prioritize your inputs and present them to the group should be established early.
Want to learn more or discuss specifics on setting up your team? Contact us about our Facilitation practice if you want to use a formal process to build out your governance system.