Healthcare system is becoming more sophisticated each day. Both patients and the care providers are in need of a well-coordinated functionality that guarantees both safety and quality of service. Thus, the best option to enforce these expectations is through technological advancements that facilitate positive changes within the hospital setup. Healthcare organizations are currently on the verge to design strategies that would ensure production of reliable outcomes from any clinical engagement. Following high-end innovations in the technical sector, most healthcare institutions have diverted their attention to adopting new technology to enhance the efficiency of their practical operations. As a result, there is significant focus on how to integrate the latest technology within the selected healthcare units for purposes of evidence-based practice (EBP). Therefore, this paper seeks to discover a segment within a hospital setting to monitor realistic change by describing the change model, desired steps for implementation, and the associated skills and attributes that need consideration.
The emergence of new technologies is responsible for the disparities witnessed in service provision within the healthcare systems. Fortunately, the technology is making it possible to maintain the quality of care services following its ability to reproduce the same outcomes (Horn, 2017). However, statistical studies have shown unavoidable concern at the outpatient department. For a long time now, it has been difficult to trace drug prescriptions and recording of the disease progression, especially after medication. As a result, most organizations can hardly guarantee the interconnection between the treatment regiment and the customary conditions that could underlie such infections (Madigan, 2012). Recent research on the outpatient unit revealed the most gruesome findings regarding the quality of service. From the data, there was a high possibility of witnessing erroneous prescriptions and a significant disparity in the patient outcome rated between 1.5 and 5.4 in every a hundred cases (Madigan, 2012). Well, quality of service is as crucial to patients as it is to every individual. Thus, appropriate implementation of electronic health records (EHR), particularly at the outpatient unit is a sure way of improving the value and nature of services that patients receive.
Electronic prescription (e-prescription) is one of the recent developments introduced under electronic health records (EHRs). Other than being intended for quality improvement, e-prescription has equally reduced the instances of errors within the outpatient units (Horn, 2017). Through this system, there is an incredible increase in litigation cases associated with the administration of wrong medications. For example, patients can now detect wrong drugs prescribed to them and follow the legal procedure to contain further negligence by the clinicians. In a study conducted by Calman et al., 2012, the e-prescription can lower errors common in outpatient units by up to 80 percent. Therefore, the probability of realizing positive outcome is also on the rise. Thus, the new system is useful in helping the doctors with better options to improve the treatment process by keeping the record of the desired medicines, the disease history and the dosage requirements. Such data have been essential in minimizing chances of wrong medication when the patients make subsequent visits. In fact, the knowledge of this new technology makes the service more reliable and reproducible.
Like in other sectors, the outpatient unit also requires a backup system for efficient retrieval of data on patient details including diagnosis process and the types of drugs to be used. Saving such information helps healthcare institutions to maximize their financial allocations. As indicated previously, hospitals can spend significant amounts in compensating those victims of wrong prescriptions. In fact, the use of EHRs is crucial in containing all the possible routes for financial wastage, mainly due to referrals, litigations or to a lesser extent, drug replacement. Nearly half a million of Americans perish due to avoidable mistakes at the hospitals on an annual scale. Thus, the implementation of e-prescription in different healthcare facilities can adequately address the precedence, thereby resulting in positive results in the outpatient units.
Change Alignment with Organizational Mission, Vision, and Values
Virtually all medical organizations emphasize the need for a high-quality medical care delivery programs. Thus, to realize such missions and visions, there is an undisputed need for efficiently structured operational practices that target transparency at the outpatient unit. Importantly, such institutions can opt for e-prescription applications with the aim of addressing the possible loopholes that can result in unintended mistakes (Calman et al., 2012). Therefore, the implementation of the EHR services; especially at the outpatient unit, is a positive move towards meeting the organizational mission of any hospital. Similarly, the healthcare facilities must uphold their core values built on two essential elements. The first significant factor is how to enhance patient safety through clinical practices. Secondly, the healthcare providers must also be ready to instill productivity and effectiveness as they attend to their patients.
Most facilities have utilized paper and fax operational approaches when attending to their patients. Unfortunately, this structure has failed to provide a good working environment that entails a culture that warrants total clinical productivity and patient safety (Horn, 2017). Ordinarily, a medical care institution needs to embrace a system capable of the competent and reproducible outcome. Hence, by supporting the use of EHR, the clinician gets a leeway to closely monitor the prescription while keeping records about other related engagements. Thus, implementing the e-prescription strategy is a sure way to achieve a productive workplace that also emulates the overall safety procedure in the outpatient unit. Professionally, the use of e-prescription has proven in minimizing the cases of medical errors that used to be very rampant before the introduction of EHRs. Therefore, it is inevitably significant to launch a system that incorporates the e-prescription as a means to generate quality medical care free of wrong medication.
Change has multiple dimensions. However, it has coined its meaning from Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, who indicated that change is constant. Nevertheless, different scholars are recorded trying to design different models to help them describe evolution as a universal functionality (Madigan, 2012). In particular, Lewin Kurt developed a comprehensive model involving three core steps of change management – freeze, unfreeze, and transition. As a result, he believed that the best approach to organize and implement change is by establishing a structured approach intended to realize a rapid change process. In fact, it is Lewin’s Theory that captures the process of transition adequately from the paper system to an e-prescription undertaking.
Since most healthcare providers are comfortable with the former system of paper and fax prescription, there is a high likelihood of resistance to e-prescription. Thus, Lewin’s change model, though well accepted by the researchers, must gradually infiltrate the current model for its acceptance. Other than the medical setting, the Lewin’s model can as well fit in different sectors of the economy; particularly education, research and clinical environments. Despite the possibility of the revolt against this model, it remains as one of the most straightforward and most adaptable tools that can sustain change for an extended duration. For instance, it makes it possible to plan, discover, and endure all the external pressures that could affect the transitional phase into e-prescription.
Steps and Alignment of Change Model
Unfreezing is the initial process of the change model. It begins by identifying the actual problem; and, of course, doing an elaborate evaluation of the change drivers (Spil et al., 2011). Most institutions find it beneficial to include Lewin’s model as it explores different challenges witnessed at the outpatient unit, relates those issues to the need for changes while providing appropriate solutions. Mostly, the use of e-prescription is a better way to reduce by close to 80 percent, the number of victims of wrong medication while containing the level of casualties arising from these errors (Horn, 2017). In fact, it will prevent the death rates that have been rampant in America due to avoidable medical mistakes. Two core aspects are unique to the unfreezing process; it opens up avenues for dialogue and communication that eventually contributes to positive thinking and progressive attitude among the staff. This intervention will ensure the healthcare workers do not interfere with the course of action to bring change.
The transitional phase is the most gradual process. Therefore, it calls for an exhaustive course of action that targets the stakeholders’ perspective regarding the discovery and searches for modern approaches; especially e-prescription tools. Ideally, this stage is the slowest and vast due to the need for ample time to familiarize the new technologies in the market (Spil et al., 2011). Nevertheless, after some time, the stakeholders begin to accept the implementation process particularly after coming to terms with the benefits of e-prescription. Interestingly, the level of acceptance can as well receive resistance following the reserved nature of some critical point-men facilitating the integration process.
As the name suggests, freezing is the final step that stabilizes the proposed changes. In essence, this stage ensures all the recommendations comply with the outpatient units’ expectations by sealing all the possible loopholes that could cause course discomfort among the implementing individuals (Spil et al., 2011). Following this rigorous process, it becomes equally essential for the physicians to prioritize result-oriented intervention of e-prescription. Therefore, by maintaining these changes, an organization becomes successful in its commitment towards reducing medical errors that are easily avoidable through the right mentality.
Initiating and Managing Change
A well-organized transition phase can achieve best outcomes if it enforces its holistic approaches towards the implementation of e-prescription. Even as the major players remain pharmacists, nurses, and other individuals who review medication procedures, the Information Technology (IT) experts and other staff members also play the critical role in the success of this transition (Spil et al., 2011). Furthermore, the top executive officials should also be willing to motivate, support and advice the institution’s support team in building a final structure that quickly adopts the e-prescription. Alternatively, the hospital officials can facilitate benchmarking process and training strategies as a way of imparting positivity among the core shareholders. That way, the facility is positioning itself to the best knowledge, skills and positive perspective regarding e-prescription. For instance, it is essential to maintain a good working relationship with the software vendors to add to the existing knowledge base the current position of technology (Spil et al., 2011). Over the past decades, limited opportunities existed to exploit the skills that had accumulated in the medical sector. However, the new inventions make it easier to explore better options that could maximize technologies in reducing medical errors witnessed in the outpatient units. In fact, the transition from paper and fax to e-prescription is the only way one can use to reduce the cost incurred due to wrong medication. Wastages are common especially if a patient opts for litigation as a last resort following doctor’s mistake. Importantly, since this change is a gradual process, it requires a collective bargain for all the staff members.
In spite of the widespread resistance, change remains an inevitable process. Using Lewin’s model, the change leaders acquaint themselves with better strategies useful for the optimal implementation of the plan. Thus, the change factor here dwells on the transition from the paper and fax methods to e-prescription. In essence, scholars have proven that this approach can enhance change management plans that target the outpatient units. Currently, most institutions are keen to maximize on avenues to promote their patient safety and satisfaction to avoid financial wastage. Adopting professional and organizational standards together with the Lewin’s model is necessary for making it possible to the e-prescription. As a result, identification, planning and sustaining the use of an electronic system, especially in the outpatient unit entails solid leadership skills and articulation of solid vision through teamwork. The morale originates from the vertical perspective with the executive taking the responsibility of involving all the shareholders into the significant plan. Once each staff member feels satisfied, he or she extends such morale to the patients whose satisfaction shapes the performance of the health facility.