Humanity has always relied on technology and our capacity for invention to secure better lives. We get cold in the winter, so we mastered fire. We can’t travel fast, so we tamed horses and later invented carriages, cars, and aircraft. The same applies to healthcare. We created bandages to stop ourselves from bleeding, and the X-ray machine to look at our bones through layers of skin and muscle.

Thus, embracing new technology is the key to delivering a better healthcare experience. Technology opens new treatment options and makes existing methods faster, more efficient, and more accessible. However, the challenges of implementing any new technique or equipment, especially on the scale healthcare groups operate, mean you need to have a strong plan and reliable partners to count on.

The Need for Implementing New Technology in Healthcare

Healthcare currently stands at a significant turning point. Around the world, aging populations require more treatment, while chronic health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and other issues are becoming increasingly widespread. At the same time, we are seeing unprecedented rates of burnout in healthcare staff as providers feel overwhelmed and suffocated by their workload. 

Multiple new technology trends, such as generative AI, telemedicine, and robotics, are converging to help answer these issues. AI and machine learning, for instance, can be used as assistants to help providers diagnose their patients’ conditions or fill out paperwork on their behalf. Telemedicine gives patients and providers new ways to communicate and access care without having to travel to a hospital or clinic. 

That said, integrating these technologies poses certain challenges. 

Common Issues with Implementing New Technology In Healthcare

Any change, no matter how minor, will come with resistance. That’s as true in physics as it is in healthcare. Some of the most common issues with implementing new technology in healthcare are:

  • Cost: New technology can be expensive to purchase and integrate into a hospital’s operations, especially if it requires replacing other related devices. 
  • Training Requirements: Most healthcare providers have limited time to support the training required for new technology or devices. 
  • Provider Reluctance: As with any skilled professional, healthcare providers are often set in their ways and don’t like being told they need to change their operations. 

However, every challenge has its solutions.

  • Cost-Saving Measures: New technology can be more efficient and save money in the long term, reducing overall costs. Using devices with backward compatibility, such as medical computers with legacy ports, can reduce costs incurred by replacing other devices.
  • Intuitive Design: Intuitive designs and user interfaces are critical for making new technology easy to use and reducing training requirements. 
  • Reduced Workload: The quickest way to get healthcare providers to agree to any new technology is to emphasize that it will reduce their workload, not add to it. 

How To Implement New Technology in Healthcare

Integrating new technology into a healthcare system is far more complex than a simple consumer purchase, like buying a new smartphone. It is a process that must be taken seriously, drawing from the skills and knowledge of multiple professionals and meeting the requirements of multiple layers of regulation. These steps are meant to serve as a guideline for how to implement new technology in healthcare.

Assess Your Needs

First, and perhaps most importantly, you need to assess your current situation, the problem or challenge you want to overcome, and the potential technological solutions for your problem. 

A common mistake when upgrading to new devices or tools is to fixate on the newest, shiniest piece of technology without seriously considering how and where you will integrate it into preexisting structures or processes. This can lead to issues in compatibility and regulation, where your new tool can’t communicate with other devices in your network or lacks the necessary cybersecurity features to meet regulations like HIPAA

When assessing your needs, consult with multiple stakeholders, including the providers who will be using the new tech, the IT professionals who will help keep it running, and even patients who may interact with it. They can accurately tell you if the technology meets their needs or has flaws that need to be addressed. You will also need to review the technical specifications and communicate with the manufacturer to ensure your potential purchase meets the necessary safety and security requirements

Planning & Strategy

Once you’ve assessed your needs and checked that your choice meets all your requirements, you must formulate an effective implementation plan. The key components of a good plan for the implementation of new technology in healthcare are:

  • Budgeting: Obviously, you need to make sure you can afford your new equipment! However, this category also includes additional costs outside the purchase, such as training, setup, and any extra expenses you incur (e.g., consultant fees, cost overruns, etc.). 
  • Staffing: If this new technology involves significantly expanding your operations, you may also need to grow your workforce. After all, there’s no point in acquiring new digital tools if you don’t have enough people to use them. Training is also a major concern; you need to give your employees time to use the new technology and get familiar with it to ensure they can fully take advantage of their new equipment. 
  • Timelines: Purchasing and deploying a new piece of equipment, along with training staff to use it, is a significant project that can easily span months. It’s critical to ensure that your project’s implementation of new technology is scheduled and doesn’t overlap with your organization’s other major projects. 
  • Scalability: It’s one thing to know that your new technology can work here and now, but healthcare operations are constantly adjusting in the face of population shifts, demographic changes, and more. Can your healthcare automation tools support a thousand healthcare providers as effectively as they can support a hundred? Ensuring the scalability of your tools is an excellent way to future-proof your operations. 

Best Practices for Successful Implementation

While every project will have different priorities and challenges, certain best practices are universal. 

  • Establish a pilot program: Having a test run for a new tool or technology is the perfect way to see how it can benefit your operations. It allows you to identify potential pain points during large-scale adoption and prepare appropriate solutions. 
  • Engage and communicate with stakeholders: Keeping providers, IT staff, and other stakeholders in the loop is critical to understanding how your strategy is working. They are the first to tell you if something is wrong with your new technology and often the first to offer a solution.  
  • Support and train your staff every step of the way: Don’t expect your staff to immediately grasp and embrace a tool right away. Make sure they have access to the appropriate training material and work with trusted consultants who have helped other healthcare groups embrace new tech. 
  • Evaluate the technology’s impact and adjust as needed: Once you’ve deployed your new devices or tools, monitor how they change your group’s operations and the impact they make. If your newly implemented tools aren’t meeting your expectations, talk to your staff and stakeholders to determine why so you can adjust your plans or deployment as necessary. 

Upgrade Your Operations with Cybernet’s Help

As the healthcare sector continues to evolve, groups must evolve with it. Embracing new technology as it arrives on the market is vital to offering patients the best treatment possible. However, implementing new technology requires the right processes and partners. 

If you’re looking to upgrade your healthcare practice with new medical-grade computers or tablets, contact the experts at Cybernet Manufacturing. Our experience as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) means we can assist you throughout the implementation process and even customize our products to your precise needs. 

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