One of the prevailing ideas in healthcare IT and medtech is that physicians are resistant to adopting new technology.
In our experience, that’s not quite the case. Physicians are actually very open to new technology, as long as they can see that it provides a clear benefit and addresses pain points in their current processes.
We recently discussed this on The Health Connective Show with Michelle Curry, the founder of Savant Solutions for HIT. With her background as a registered nurse, Michelle was able to gain firsthand insight into what physicians actually need from new technology and how to best meet their needs when developing new tech.
During that discussion, Michelle shared the steps she recommends following when developing new tech to ensure that you are capturing physicians’ needs in the process.
1. Understand the Problem & Create Objectives
Often, physicians aren’t resistant to adopting new tech because they are 100% happy with what they have. There are often pain points that aren’t being addressed with their current toolsets. If you can gain a better understanding of those pain points upfront, you will be in a better position to develop something that addresses it.
Michelle explained that physicians and other clinicians carry a tremendous cognitive load with the amount of information they have to review and process each day. They are often having to quickly pick out what information is important out of all the data they have with each patient interaction. So, understanding how their current processes work, where there are hang ups, and what they actually need will help to set you on the right path as you begin your development work.
Once you feel you have a good understanding of the problems that need to be solved, it is important to create measurable objectives for your new technology. This not only helps to prove to physicians why your technology is helpful, but also gives your team a big picture to keep in mind with the decisions they make throughout the process.
2. Analyze the Current State of Your Tech
When you have your objectives in place, it’s time to start analyzing your technology—looking at what you have currently and what you have planned to develop.
Michelle said that it is important to analyze your technology with your objectives in mind, and remember that your technology is not the solution, but rather a tool that helps you get to the solution. If you only focus on the tools you have, you could be limiting your options and the possibility to develop creative solutions to the problems you are setting out to solve.
3. Understand User Requirements
Another key piece of developing new technologies is understanding who will be using your technology and what that might look like for them. Often, you’re getting the physician’s perspective on what the workflow looks like for them, but you might have other user groups, like hospital admins or even patients.
Michelle and her team work to understand what the current workflows look like—what data they are looking at, how things happen throughout the process, and even where they are going through each step—to understand what the user requirements might be. Physicians might not be able to tell you all of the different types of functionality they need from your tech, but having those insights into the process helps you understand what your product needs to do at a minimum, and where you can potentially make the process more efficient.
4. Create a Solution Roadmap
When you have an understanding of the problem, have set your objectives, and understand what your users need, it’s time to create a solution roadmap. According to Michelle, your technology is the tool that helps you get there, but your roadmap details how you are going to get to the solution and what you will need to get there.
This includes figuring out who you will work with to provide input throughout the process, what data you want to include, at what points you want to go back and evaluate the solution. Your roadmap serves as the foundation for your development process.
5. Measuring Adoption & Results
When you have a version of your solution completed, it’s important to continue to evaluate to see where you can improve. Is your tech hitting the marks that you set out to address from the beginning? This is where it is important to get physicians to start using the product to provide feedback on how it fits into their workflow.
Learning new tech does cause some initial disruption for physicians, but once they settle into the product, is it providing any improvement over what they were doing before? Michelle shared that she often finds hiccups happen when a tech company does not take the time to understand what physicians need and instead develops what they think physicians need. If you’ve taken the time to plan ahead and really understand the physician’s perspective from the beginning, your end product should be in a much better place. However, it is still important to continue to get feedback from your key users to make sure you have accomplished what you set out to do, and where you can update to continue to add value.
Lack of adoption is certainly a sign that your health tech is not meeting the needs of physicians. On the flipside, if your tech can add some efficiency to a physician’s day, the adoption will follow.
Health Connective’s Development Essentials
These different components are the foundation of any solid development project in our minds. Check out our 7 essentials, and see if you agree.
Justin Bantuelle balances the responsibilities of both the Chief Operating Officer and the Web Technology Director after having worked with Health Connective for more than a dozen years. Justin regularly leads the cross-disciplinary teams in building out and updating applications for Fortune 500 companies.
Justin keeps his technical abilities sharp by contributing to an eclectic mix of open-source and personal projects on Github.
As the marketing manager, Ashley ensures that our clients’ marketing strategies are put into action. This includes content writing, SEO, online advertising, analytics, and interfacing with the tools, systems, and team members needed to help our clients accomplish their marketing goals.