Managing Technology and Innovation: Managing Change

Abstract

The impact of technological innovation for business enterprises, governmental and non –governmental organizations has been massive. However, to be able to take advantage of its benefits, organizations have been forced to adopt change management principles. This paper looks at the impact of technological innovation within the healthcare industry, which my organization falls in. Among the benefits identified in the health care sector as a result of technological innovation include cost reduction, improvement of quality, and improved communications. In addition, the concept of the internet and other medical applications in the area of telemedicine has been able to impact a lot on access to medical care. However, technological innovation has also resulted in the need for additional skills.

Introduction

Technological advancements across different industries and organizational setups in the recent century have brought with them a revolution. Technological innovations generally are meant to bring new concepts, approaches, efficiencies, or ideas of doing things. However, it is the adoption of such ideas or concepts that presents the greatest challenges to many organizations.

Since technological innovation initiates radical shifts in operational environments, organizations must similarly initiate internal change (Thouin, Hoffman & Ford, 2008). As a result, technological innovation benefits can only be fully capitalized on by organizations if they are able to adopt the principles of change management. This paper looks at the impact of technological innovation within the healthcare industry, which my organization falls in.

Efficiency

Health care information and communication technology applications cannot be mentioned without highlighting the manner in which the efficiency of operations has increased with more inventions. Technological innovation has resulted in achieving great efficiencies, particularly in improving communication, records management, diagnostic accuracy, and even safety. Technological equipment advancement in the health care sector has significantly reduced cases of inaccurate diagnosis and prescription through the availability of improved, fast, and accurate testing equipments and kits.

Through the use of a healthcare management system, patient history and progress monitoring have been made easier. All information about individual patients can be accurately stored and relayed to any department within the hospital without involving the patient. This has resulted in time-saving. Safety in hospitals has also been enhanced. The development of special sterilizers and the development of highly sensitive equipment have enabled the reduction of risks associated with contamination and the spread of contagious diseases within the hospital.

Cost

With economic considerations having an impact in healthcare organizations, there has been a need to reduce costs of operations. Globally, the quest for sustainable and affordable health care has been intensified in the recent past. Technological innovations have largely contributed to cost reduction within health care settings in many ways. For instance, the internet alone has led to a significant reduction in the costs of information flow and administrative duties within hospitals. For example, it is now possible to ensure real-time patient-physician information exchange through video streaming capabilities availed through different online applications.

The development of simple but effective equipment like handheld blood and saliva analyzers, pregnancy test kits, and other health tests and monitoring tools have even resulted in cost reduction (Goyen & Debatin, 2009). As a result, the number of patients to be handled by doctors in a day also reduces when individuals are able to monitor their health conditions without actually going to the hospitals. Advanced medical equipment has also lead to the elimination of waste, mainly related to medical errors. With reduced patient waiting and diagnostic terms, hospitals are also able to save in costs associated with extra capacity, particularly for outpatient sections.

Quality

Quality assurance in the health care sector is one of the most important objectives. The adoption of modern technology has significantly helped in quality assurance in hospitals in many ways. Particularly, customer service, reduction of errors, increased capacity, and faster decision making are some of the major components of quality that have been improved through technological advancement.

Patients are able to be served in good time, and their results relayed immediately through a health management system (Omachonu & Einspruch, 2010). As a result, they are able to understand their situations and even provide useful information that goes a long way in helping doctors and nurses to provide appropriate care. This has also boosted confidence among patients.

The availability of health care management systems has also increased accountability since technological tools have a characteristic of leaving information trails. Through such computer operated and controlled systems, the management of schedules for employees has also been effectively improved. Patient safety and quick recovery have also been enhanced through elimination of errors and availability of real time monitoring and intervention solutions like CT scans among others.

Access

The concept of internet and other medical applications in the area of telemedicine has been able to impact a lot on access of medical care. Through internet applications like live chat, doctors and patients are able to interact without arranging for a physical meet. As a result, anyone is able to access medical guidance and manage their schedule through online booking of appointments and even prescriptions. In areas where health care infrastructure is not yet fully developed, the information and communications flow capability of health care related ICT applications have been of great benefit.

As a result, the types of jobs and cost of living have been largely impacted. For jobs, the nature of occupations in health care has been significantly altered. This is because technological innovation has effectively reduced face to face handling of patients and given most of the testing and diagnostic work to machines. The skills needed in hospitals today therefore have widened in scope to include technical operations and computer manipulation skills. As a result, additional training has been needed. The cost of living has been significantly lowered as already noted.

Change Management

In order to adapt to technological shifts, management must be ready to follow the principles of change management to assist in cultural and organization change. For a healthcare organization, there are many implementation initiatives that may be employed to enable effective and convenient change management.

First, the importance of effective communication will continue to remain relevant. Through this, all stakeholders will learn the objectives of technological change and increase adoption rates (Doppelt, 2009). Management should be able to communicate through various channels available to ensure that all employees and customers understand not only understand the important of the proposed changes but also their part in making the needed change to be successful.

Secondly, management must embrace diversity given that the healthcare industry is made up of individuals from different cultural backgrounds. According to Doppelt (2009), culture is a big influencer of change management. This is because culture determines the attitudes, beliefs and general behavior of individuals. As a result, it is usually common to find differentiated ideas with regards to some elements of the proposed changes.

The recognition of management that cultural foundations play a big role in the determination of success for the implementation of change is therefore a first step to ensuring the all goes according to plan. Through this, everyone is handled in a manner that their cultural inclinations do not affect their performance.

In addition, planning of change and effective involvement of all departments and employees is key to the success of implementation (Aggelidis & Chatzoglou, 2009). It is through planning that each unit or department is able to understand their part of contributions to the required changes and the set timelines. Consequently, every employee within each department is able to also work towards the set departmental targets.

Motivation and goal setting is also an important principle that management may employ to ensure that there is a faster acceptance of change in healthcare institutions (Doppelt, B. (2009). There are many ways that organizations may motivate their employees to provide the needed input for a successful transition to another technological dispensation.

Training is one of the most important motivators. It not only ensures that all employees have the basic skills to be needed for the new operational processes but also make the employees confident in handling the new procedures without backlash in areas of customer service. This is because a motivated employee usually results into a happier customer. Other forms of motivation like the use of reward and recognition may also be essential for the organization’s change management plan.

References

Aggelidis, V. P., & Chatzoglou, P. D. (2009). Using a modified technology acceptance model in hospitals. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 78(2), 115-126.

Doppelt, B. (2009). Leading change toward sustainability-: a change-management guide for business, government and civil society. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing.

Goyen, M., & Debatin, J. F. (2009). Healthcare costs for new technologies. European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, 36(1), 139-143.

Omachonu, V. K., & Einspruch, N. G. (2010). Innovation in healthcare delivery systems: A conceptual framework. The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, 15(1), 2.

Thouin, M. F., Hoffman, J. J., & Ford, E. W. (2008). The effect of information technology investment on firm-level performance in the health care industry. Health Care Management Review, 33(1), 60-68.