As discussed in our previous blog post, Healing What Ails Technology Adoption, MD Interconnect takes a two-pronged approach to successful technology adoption for secure mobile/web communication. That first post focused on designing a product with physicians in mind. Today, we will discuss the second part of that equation: building a successful implementation process. There are many critical factors that play a role in a successful implementation, but let’s focus on five key elements that lead to successful adoption.
There are significant differences in how physicians work – no “one size fits all” approach will be successful All physicians have a unique workflow. When working with a complete community healthcare system, it is also important to understand the differences between inpatient based physicians (emergency, surgeons, hospitalist, etc) and outpatient based physicians (primary care, medical specialists, etc.) The needs on those two groups can be very different. In that same vein, differences between low volume and high volume users must be recognized and addressed
To better understand these specific workflow needs, we start with a survey of each practice about how communication is handled today, and what challenges each practice faces. Based on that insight, we build out “rules” for how RapidConnect will work to address those unique needs and integrate with their workflows.
Physicians (like most of us) don’t like training. Burdensome training requirements can be the kiss of death for a new technology implementation.
RapidConnect was built by physicians to be intuitive and user-friendly, with no formal training required for end-users. 80% of users will be able to ‘download and go’. However, a secure messaging system is only productive if close to 100% of the physicians are using it. As such, its important to have specific strategies to support those physicians and clinicians that need assistance.
RapidConnect uses multiple techniques to achieve his. In addition to 24/7 help desk, online ‘how to’ videos and readily available ‘quick tip’ cards, we have a team of resources on site leading up to and during the ‘go live’ phase. These resources round on physician practices, spend time where doctors congregate (ED, OR lounge, physician dining, etc.) as well as participate in physician group meetings to address any issues or concerns. We also invest in training those that surround physicians – namely their nurses and practice managers. With specific training designed for them, clinical staff can support the implementation process. In addition a dedicated account manager will review message traffic, identifying those who seem to have long response times or regularly don’t answer messages. We will proactively reach out to those physicians and practices to address any issues that they may be experiencing.
Every day, the RapidConnect support team will review message logs for failed messages or significant delays in response time.
This allows the support team to immediately address problem areas and respond, improving the performance of the product and physician satisfaction. Poor response times and/or unread messages can jeopardize the adoption of the platform. Doctors in particular will become disenchanted and quickly abandon the new technology if the perceive flaws or unresponsiveness from others.
There have been numerous false starts and expensive failures in the implementation of secure text messaging platforms for healthcare. You don’t want to be one of those! To learn know more about how our RapidConnect secure messaging solution can help you avoid that fate, click here.
by MD Interconnect
As discussed in a previous post, there have been numerous false starts and failures in the implementation of secure text messaging platforms in the healthcare environment. The landscape is littered with expensive solutions that have seen low utilization, projects being shelved and as a result patient health information continuing to be shared via unsecured methods.
The primary reason for this situation is poor adoption by physicians and subsequently inconsistent use throughout the system. Poor adoption leads to overall poor utilization and a lot of wasted time, money and energy.
But physicians and care providers aren’t to blame. The blame falls on the technology itself. Few of the existing secure messaging products were designed to work with physician workflows and account for physicians need to control accessibility. Most physicians do not want others to have ‘open access’ to them, nor do they want to ‘sign in’ when they are available or remember to ‘sign out’ when they are not available.
While other technology vendors have provided public RFP templates for secure messaging, those templates focus primarily on the core functionality and the technical requirements of an individual product. They do little to highlight those functional features that will actually encourage broad physician adoption. So, while these templates are helpful, they do not necessarily help you achieve your goal of high user adoption.
With the goal of high user adoption in mind, here are seven key functionality questions you should include as part of your RFP for secure text messaging:
The marriage between technology and physicians is not always an easy one and there have been a lot of bad breakups over the years. After all, physicians went to medical school to treat patients, change the world, etc. They did not set out to learn a new technology every time they turn around and/or to play a leading role in technology implementations. Yet today, they are finding themselves playing that role and feeling the frustrations that go along with that.
There is no shortage of research that talks about the challenges vendors face when it comes to technology adoption with physicians (and healthcare in general). Look no further than the EHR (electronic health record) technology market to learn more about those challenges and the lessons learned from them. In a 2015 study by Physicians Practice, physicians cite a long list of technology challenges (many of which relate to their experience with EHR technology), including: a drop in productivity when rolling out new technology; lack of interoperability between technologies; meeting regulatory requirements; cost to implement and use technology; resistance to technology; security and training.
MD Interconnect co-founder Dr. David Hoover was all too familiar with those challenges, having been on the user side (the resistance side may be more accurate) of numerous technology rollouts. He knew that MD Interconnect had to do things differently to ensure successful adoption.
With this in mind, the MD Interconnect team took a two-pronged approach to adoption. The first approach may seem obvious: design a product that solves a meaningful problem, but design it with your users (i.e. physicians, etc.) and their workflows (maybe not as obvious) in mind. Surprisingly, many technology companies develop a product that solves the first issue (meaningful problem) but neglect to consider the second (user workflows and preferences). Consequently, they experience poor adoption, limiting and or even eliminating the product’s ability to succeed.
The second approach is equally important but often overlooked – build an implementation process tailored to address a physician’s unique objections/concerns with an understanding of their job, their workflow, their practice, etc. With that in mind, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to get on board (hand-holding as needed), quickly demonstrate the value of using the technology (what’s in it for them), and ensure that they are motivated to continue using it (continued engagement, tracking, etc.).
When it comes to developing a secure communication solution for hospitals, there are some basic features and functionality that every solution must have at its core. The solution must successfully facilitate the delivery of messages between users. And, the solution must address mounting security requirements that hospitals face, including the need for HIPAA compliance. There are a number of vendors that offer products that address those core requirements, but MD Interconnect created a solution that goes beyond these basic requirements to engage users and ensure adoption. You can learn more about the company’s physician-driven design in this previous blog post. Here are some of the factors MD Interconnect considered while developing a product with adoption and sustained engagement in mind:
With RapidConnect, MD Interconnect knew they had a great product that hospitals, physicians and patients would benefit from, but they also knew their job wasn’t done. See our next blog post on what it takes to ensure a successful implementation and ongoing user engagement.
Introducing RapidPair, the latest enhancement to RapidConnect secure messaging solution.
According to a 2000 report from The Institute of Medicine, To Err is Human, experts estimated that as many as 98,000 people died in any given year from medical errors that occur in hospitals. In 2016, after analyzing medical death rate data over an eight-year period, Johns Hopkins patient safety experts published that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the U.S. In 2013, distraction from smartphones and other mobile devices was identified for the first time as one of the top 10 health technology hazards by ECRI Institute.
Hospitals and physicians recognize that electronic devices in clinical care environments have exploded over the last 10 years, resulting in an unprecedented level of distractions. They are committed to minimizing those distractions, especially in operating rooms and other procedure related areas, which are at especially high risk for interruption and distraction-related errors.
RapidConnect by MDInterconnect has risen to that challenge with the introduction of its latest feature, RapidPair. RapidPair enables physicians to quickly and easily allow a “proxy” to review and respond to secure messages on their behalf when they are otherwise occupied.
Imagine the following scenario.
A physician is in the operating room, performing a life-saving surgery. A message comes in to their mobile device. They know that a message has come in, but can they afford to stop mid-surgery to check that message and/or respond directly? Of course not!
Can they even afford to pause long enough to instruct the circulating nurse how to get into their personal device, to find the app and open the message using their personal PIN? Not really.
Other solutions on the market today claim to offer “proxy” or “delegation” type capabilities to address this problem, but create even more distractions by requiring multiple, sometimes complicated and inefficient steps be taken by the physician and/or circulating nurse.
If a so-called “solution” is too time-consuming, complicated or dangerous to use, how likely are physicians and/or hospitals to actually use it? Hospitals and physicians want a solution they can trust to make their job easier, and one that certainly doesn’t jeopardize patient care.
MD Interconnect took all of these concerns into consideration when developing RapidPair, and designed it to accomplish the following:
With RapidPair, the physician simply asks the proxy (i.e. circulating nurse) to check the incoming message. The proxy does this through any computer (not the physician’s personal device) by signing into their own RapidConnect account and accessing the RapidPair function. With minimal disruption to the patient or procedure, they can immediately see the message and respond based on the physician’s instructions. Each proxy can pair up to 10 devices at one time. The clinician is not required to change any settings or status on their own device.
RapidConnect gives physicians the flexibility they want, to choose the options that work best for them, and thus provide the best patient care possible. RapidPair complements other features like QuickCover, Read Notifications, Shift- based Roles, Message Routing, etc. allowing widespread adoption by clinicians enabling a system to implement a secure, team-based, collaborative and effective approach to patient care.
In this interview with co-founder and Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Hoover, we share how his personal experience drove the creation of RapidConnect and how that experience sets this secure messaging solution apart from others in the healthcare market.
In 2014, David set out to respond to a critical challenge that physicians face, and one that he had experienced directly; connecting the right physicians at the right time, to ensure the best possible outcome for patients.
As a pediatric surgeon, David relies on physician referrals to connect with patients in need of his specialized services. He realized that outpatient-based physicians (pediatricians, internists, etc.) had a hard time reaching specialists (like him) based on a confusing list of various numbers and instructions depending on day of the week, time of day, secondary contacts (such as a PA) and other variables. It was frustrating to say the least and was far from efficient and/or effective.
To address the problem, hospital administrators would often add yet another 800 number and hire additional call center staff members to handle the calls. “This was obviously not a satisfactory solution to improving patient care in the long-term. I just knew there had to be a better way.”
David decided to take on the challenge directly, and began by researching existing solutions on the market. “I found a few available options, but none of them allowed users to create physician preferences based on how they wanted to be contacted and/or how they worked.” David knew the ideal solution would help users connect with the right provider at the right time, in a streamlined manner that worked for all parties involved.
David created MDInterconnect and worked with his software development team to prototype what he thought that solution should look like. He pulled from his own extensive healthcare experience and understanding of how physicians and hospitals operate. He also leveraged input from other physicians, hospital administration, call centers, etc. to address the nuances for both in-patient and outpatient providers. “We really gave thought to a number of possible scenarios and how we would account for each one in our software.”
“We were very in touch with what would make this work for physicians and knew that we needed to make the technology easily accessible and user friendly. Our flagship product, RapidConnect, was built on that philosophy and continues to evolve with that in mind.”
While other solutions are technology driven, RapidConnect is the only solution on the market that is truly physician driven. But, that is not the only thing that sets it apart. Secure messaging, call center components, ease-of-use, and delegation capabilities are just a few of the unique elements it has to offer. RapidConnect even offers built-in call scheduling functionality but also integrates with other industry-leading call scheduling solutions, such as Lightning Bolt.
David set out to improve communication between providers and to ensure the best possible patient care when they need it most.
“Better communication creates efficiencies around managing a patient’s care as well as the transition from one care setting to another. Treatments and meds are administered more quickly and effectively. The care team is engaged more collaboratively. The patient is managed more successfully. I wanted a solution that would lead to these outcomes.”