Is the Healthcare Industry Afraid of Change?

To be afraid of change is to say you are as normal as they come. Most people fear change, or at least avoid it as much as possible. We find comfort in whatever our normal is. When it comes to change in the medical world, especially in terms of technology, this is fear, also called metathesiophobia, is widespread.

Take pagers, for example. They have been around forever and continue to persist. Why is this? Are there no better technological alternatives in today’s modern world? The simple answer is that they are trustworthy.

However, if something isn’t broken doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be changed. Pagers do nothing for clinical workflows and patient care. Communication technology in the medical industry needs to be secure and accessible, with valuable information being shared quickly and privately.

Metathesiophobia for Doctors

Of course, communication technology is not what can set a doctor over the edge when it comes to fear of change. Some change can be good and have immediate positive effects on workflows. Fear of change for doctors is largely linked to new processes and models, which change the way they work, their hours and their work-life balance.

The emergence of new rules, regulations and processes is enough to send anyone into a whirlwind. A healthcare professional’s job is hard enough, keeping track of all the changes can be overwhelming. This is probably the root of the apparent metathesiophabia amongst doctors.

New operating models in clinics and hospitals are leaving doctors fearing longer work days and a negative impact on their encounters with their patients. If the new processes being put into place do little to help their workflow and their relationships with their patients, doctors have a right to fear change within their work environment.

Conquering Fear of Change Through Technology

Like any aspect of change at work, most resort to asking themselves: What will this mean for me and the way I currently work? Will it ultimately improve or hinder my current workflow? The key to conquering fear is educating staff on what the new process or technology is, its benefits, and its effects on the way they work.

Incorporating technology into a workflow that previously didn’t have any or limited access to it will seem intrusive at first. Nevertheless, they mostly present benefits for both doctors and patients, with some having become necessities over time.

With healthcare being difficult to access, people are taking better care of their cars than they are themselves. The ease of booking an appointment with a doctor has a direct effect on how patients, especially Millennials, approach their health. Understanding the positive impact of inserting technological tools into a workflow can ease the fear of change for staff and ultimately provide tools patients want and expect.

Starting small, take online bookings for example. Restaurants and other industries are increasingly resorting to online bookings, making it part of a patient’s daily reality. Why wouldn’t they expect the same from their healthcare provider? The rise of out-of-pocket copay costs for patients have made them look at their health as consumers, just like in any other industry. This means they demand more services and tools.

Conquering a fear of change can be difficult, but when the positive impacts of such a change are well understood and communicated to not only staff but patients as well, everybody wins. Streamlining services online like appointment bookings can ultimately diminish costs for providers and payers and provide a better patient experience.

About the Author
Jennifer Morency

Jennifer Morency is the Director of Marketing for Hello Health, the complete Cloud-Based EHR, Practice Management System and Patient Portal, that helps practices be more efficient and increase patient engagement.