5 Tips for tackling technology adoption resistance in home and specialty infusion pharmacies

5 Tips for tackling technology adoption resistance in home and specialty infusion pharmacies


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By: Terri Embry, RN, BSBA, Customer Success, CitusHealth

While the home and specialty infusion pharmacy industry is rapidly growing, the process for filling specialty medications is complex. The burden to qualify a patient’s therapy often falls on the admissions and clinical teams working with the prescriber to bring clarity to the varied payor criteria. It involves more clinical information than the average prescription, which requires supporting documentation to obtain prior authorization.

For infusion specialty medications, if dispensed without criteria met, the billed revenue is at risk of not being paid or requiring payor refunds. Old processes include manual communication methods, paper-based workflows, and faxes—slowing the process even more and creating more room for error.

The good news is the right technology can provide digital solutions to these challenges, ultimately helping avoid delayed treatments and speeding up or meeting the requested start of therapy. But how can you get staff to adopt these technologies when they’re often burnt out, overworked, and burdened with repetitive workloads? Add the staffing shortages and increased volume of patients receiving care outside of the hospital, and adoption becomes a critical business need.

Technology adoption makes all the difference

It’s common for clinical and supporting staff to see many technologies come and go, losing trust in long-term digital solutions and instead relying on antiquated communication methods like phone, fax, unsecure texting, and email. But when they are empowered with new technologies and adopt them with a well-defined purpose, patient care is impacted.

With the right technology, implemented in all the right ways, the entire care team can provide more thorough care, engage patients and families on a deeper level, and potentially see better patient outcomes. For this to happen successfully, staff adoption is critical.

Here are five tips for tackling technology adoption resistance in home and specialty infusion pharmacies:

1. Identify your why.
Before choosing a technology vendor, identify the challenges and critical needs within your organization. Then explore how the technology would optimize or overcome those challenges. This discovery will help you craft your “why,” which should be shared with your entire organization so everyone understands why you’re investing in new technology and what you intend it to solve. Examples include reducing revenue on hold or meeting compliance requirements for signed delivery tickets or consents.

In our experience, when everyone understands how the technology will improve their work experience and the experience of their patients, the buy-in is tremendous.

2. Give key leadership and super users a voice.
Gather key leadership from different departments to help with process development. By ensuring they have input into the new process, they will help colleagues adapt and overcome the learning curves that come with adopting new technology. The department leaders should know your “why” because they will instill that into their own teams—increasing buy-in across your organization.

Oftentimes when we start an implementation and the project team isn’t sure where to start, they can always provide a long list of areas that need improving. When the project team goes into the implementation understanding what problems they need to solve to meet the value intended when the technology was purchased, it reduces time in the implementation process.

By giving your project team and super users a voice in the workflow used to solve the challenges, they feel ownership in your technology investment and will be more likely to adopt these tools for the long-term. When the solution solves the “why,” adoption will follow.

3. Ensure everyone is marching to the same tune.
Communicate to your staff from the beginning what to expect with this new technology within days, months, quarters, etc. so they know how things can improve and how they can work together as a team to get the most out of your investment. Encourage staff at every level to take part in sharing how the new workflows help them do more with less.

4. Assure your team that there will be a move-forward process.
Establish a super user committee to bring new business cases that could benefit from technology help to your tech partner. Lean on your technology partner for best practices, feature reviews, and as subject matter experts throughout your relationship—not just in the beginning.

Adding a way for process improvement ideas to reach leadership and identify technology solutions is a long-term plan. Your technology partner should help you understand workflows that have proven outcomes. Establishing methodology to train new staff and access helpful materials is important to reducing your staff onboarding costs and creating repeatable process models.

5. Have milestones for objectives and key results (OKRs).
If you have an objective you want to reach and you make the key result of that objective time-bound and measurable, then you’ll know if you reached your goal. Create milestones for hitting these objectives, empower your team to do the same, and share your wins with employees to let them know the good job they’re doing and how technology helped them get there.

Getting a baseline metric of a problem and then sharing how the new workflows have improved the metric can be a great motivator in change management. Get departments or teams to compete and offer fun incentives.

Are you ready to adopt the digital tools that can help your organization communicate in more modern, efficient ways? The first step is understanding the importance of staff buy-in. Schedule a demo today to learn how our implementation process was designed to increase staff adoption.

Terri Embry
Terri Embry
RN, BSBA, Vice President of Customer Success, CitusHealth

A registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing, Terri’s career has spanned almost three decades in regional and national home, specialty and long-term care infusion operations, sales, and informatics leadership. Her experience with cutting-edge workflow optimization has allowed her to understand the challenges both customers and their patients face. With CitusHealth, she leads the adoption and retention team helping to bring the voice of customers to the product development roadmap.

Terri has been in leadership, sales, and nursing roles for companies such as BioScrip, Omnicare, and Olsten-Kimberly Quality Care.