The evolution and acceptance of technology has resulted in improvements in almost every part of our lives – the way we work, how we go about our day-to-day activities, and how we communicate within our interpersonal relationships.
Industries across the globe are embracing and adopting new technologies to further improve their ways of operating.
Technology has drastically changed the way health organisations function, with new innovations enabling providers to achieve the likes of stability, security, sustainability, and readily available data and insights through all sectors of the healthcare industry.
And yet when we look at the healthcare industry as a whole, we can see that it has been on the slower side of the spectrum when adopting new technology, compared to other industries.
Although new technology has the potential to bring several benefits such as improved patient care, fewer mistakes, and greater efficiency, many hospitals remain hesitant to implement it.
This is in spite of the fact that healthcare systems in western countries, in particular, continue to face increasing demands on their hospitals due to an ageing population, a rise in the prevalence of chronic diseases, and budget constraints.
So, why the hesitation? What is stopping many hospitals from adopting new technology and what can we do about it?
There are several factors that influence acceptance of change (and adoption) by medical staff and in turn, enable a successful implementation of new technologies. These range from financial to functional considerations which we will explore below.
The costs of new hospital technology
New technology can be expensive, and the reality is hospitals may not have the budget to invest in it.
In fact, one of the biggest reasons hospitals don’t adopt new technology is money – both from an initial investment point of view, as well as the ongoing costs of maintenance and support.
Like any business, hospitals should undertake a costs/benefits analysis when it comes to adopting new technologies. Hospital decision makers should consider the cost savings relative to alternative technologies and the averted future costs of sticking with their current technology.
Training and implementation for hospital staff
Hospitals may not have the resources or expertise to properly train staff on how to use the new technology.
We know that new technologies can be daunting. Questions such as “where do I start?” and “how does this work?” no doubt will run through the minds of those who need to adapt to it.
Naturally, professionals with previous experience with similar systems are more open to change and adoption and will be more open to the idea that the benefits of the technology will outweigh any possible shortcomings or difficulties.
Here at Olinqua, our dedicated and expert team works with hospitals to better understand their multifaceted needs, including consultations, implementation, customer success programs and support packages.
Integration/interoperability in hospitals
Interoperability considerations can be a big factor for adoption. Hospitals often use a variety of different systems and technology solutions, and getting these systems to work together can be a challenge.
New tech may not be compatible with existing systems and processes, making it difficult to integrate into the hospital’s infrastructure.
A key challenge with adoption of IT in healthcare is that the systems are typically not designed for “multi-institutional” capabilities – that being, they’re not always designed to talk to each other.
In addition to integration and interoperability challenges, hospitals may (and often do) have to comply with strict regulations, which can make it more difficult to adopt and implement new technologies.
Olinqua’s IGNITE platform is the powerful hospital operations platform that brings everything together, enabling a connected workforce and environment, to streamline processes, improve efficiency and significantly decrease costs.
Uncertainty of new technology
Hospitals may be hesitant to adopt new technologies if they are unsure of its effectiveness or if it has not been widely adopted by other hospitals.
For example, “some medical professionals believed that technology would interfere with their ability to make independent diagnoses and their relationships with patients”. Although with the forced adoption of technology in recent years, this mindset has started to shift.
The complexity of hospitals
Hospitals are complex, interconnected webs with many different departments and processes. Introducing new technology into this complex system can be challenging and may require significant changes to the way things are done.
Further, in many instances, medical professionals tend to hold “subjective opinions of the usefulness of new technology, its complexity, and/or how familiar technology is to end users”. And who can blame them? When they’re exposed to so many different technologies on a regular basis, it’s only natural for them to form their own opinions on each one.
Resistance to change for new technology
In many industries, including the healthcare industry, there is a strong tradition of doing things a certain way. Indeed, many people (both in and out of healthcare) are naturally resistant to change and may be uncomfortable or intimidated by new technology.
Hospital staff may fear that the change will bring about increased control by management, but with the appropriate education, training and reassurance, positive perceptions can be reinforced when it comes to adoption.
Lack of evidence in the tech space
New technologies are often introduced without sufficient evidence to support their use. This can make it challenging for hospitals to justify the investment and to convince staff to get behind it.
Indeed, availability of information and evidence is critical here, which can be seen in our list of partners that we work with at Olinqua. We believe in partnering with the best to deliver our technological solution for hospitals and their important workforce. To have the backing and support from partners including Microsoft and Wavelink, helps reinforce to hospitals we can be trusted to deliver excellent solutions.
Technology and security concerns
We know that hospitals handle sensitive patient information every single day and have a duty of care to protect this information.
New technologies may introduce security risks, and as a result, hospitals may be hesitant to adopt until these risks are addressed.
An article titled the Impact of Trust and Privacy Concerns on Technology Acceptance in Healthcare, reports that “although most consumers welcome the increased convenience and personalisation as natural outcomes (of new technologies), many remain concerned about privacy associated with their personal information”. No doubt, this challenge is a crucial factor when it comes to technology adoption in hospitals.
Olinqua’s messaging solution facilitates the secure exchange of text communications between all platform users, including automated notifications from incoming data, system events and workflows.
Taking into account the various challenges that hospitals face when it comes to adopting new technologies, it’s worth noting that an aligned approach is encouraged from all hospital stakeholders to minimise resistance and concerns. Acceptance relies on understanding both patients’ and professionals’ anxieties and feelings of insecurity, and these can be overcome with quality formal training.
Further, as the line between professional health solutions and consumer solutions continues to blur (including smartphones, smart watches and fitness trackers), there are significant opportunities to adopt technology that is both familiar and accessible.
As technology continues to advance and the healthcare industry continues to evolve, it is likely that these challenges will be overcome, and hospitals will begin to embrace new technology more fully.
To find out more about Olinqua’s IGNITE platform, get in touch with us here