By Dr. Noel O'Kelly on June 6, 2022
Simply put, the success of your virtual ward – or indeed any digital deployment – hinges on the engagement of your clinical team.
Your team is likely suffering from change fatigue as a result of the pandemic, so it’s vital that you take the time to create an engagement strategy to boost motivation and accelerate the adoption of new technology. Here are our top five tips for engaging with your clinical team.
Design with your clinicians
To avoid clinicians feeling like change is happening to them, they should be part of the design process to help them feel that positive change is happening because of them.
We like to co-design clinical pathways with the clinical team that will be operating the virtual ward on a day-to-day basis. This ensures the software is designed to work for their needs as well as their patients’.
Remember that the clinical team should be involved in the process from the very start, not just during the training stage. Their experience and knowledge of the pathway should inform how the new service takes shape.
Provide clear communication
The purpose and benefits of the virtual wards should be clearly and regularly communicated to the clinical team. It should be emphasised how the new service will help improve the clinicians’ working lives and how it benefits patients.
We have spoken to some clinicians who feel the new technology is trying to replace them or will degrade the overall quality of care. It needs to be made clear that the tech is simply supporting the workforce, allowing them to do their job more efficiently. Patient safety and care will never be compromised.
To help demonstrate the benefits of the service, you could share case studies, testimonials, and research papers that show both quantitative and qualitative evidence.
Ensure team training
Without proper training, your clinical team will struggle to fully embrace the service and won’t feel confident when demonstrating it to patients.
We recommend providing short sessions for the clinical team to see exactly how the technology works and to give them an opportunity to ask questions. The team should also have access to user guides with step-by-step instructions to help them remember the process.
Embrace digital champions
Recruiting digital champions can help get your team excited about virtual wards.
We recommend introducing your digital champions to your tech supplier, so they can pass on feedback from the clinical team and ask questions.
It’s crucial that they have sufficient training and protected time to be able to thoroughly understand the software so they can confidently support the rest of the team.
Create a feedback loop
You might not get it right the first time, so creating a safe space for clinicians to share opinions and concerns is important. Listen, evaluate, and adapt accordingly.
We recommend creating a feedback loop for your team, perhaps on your intranet or you could create a dedicated email inbox for queries. These could then be managed by your digital champions.
Remember that listening to the team’s concerns and suggestions not only helps them feel more engaged with the process but can help create a superior virtual ward service.
We have first-hand experience in implementing technology within the NHS. If you’re looking for support whilst you find your feet, or through the entire process, we’re here to help. Book a free, no-obligation chat with our digital experts now for our insights and advice around virtual wards.