Moving to a new facility can be a difficult time for staff. They’re saying goodbye to years of fond memories that took place in their existing location and then facing the challenges of moving to a new hospital to create new attachments. Challenges include becoming familiar with the new design, new equipment, different technology and changed processes. Making information readily available to staff as soon as possible builds their confidence and helps to manage their anxiety.
Successful transitions incorporate what matters to staff, patients, families, and the community. Defining expectation for key stakeholders is a good way to help staff imagine a positive start-up at the new facility.
To families, success may mean receiving capable assistance to move from points A to B. To staff, success may mean comfort with the work environment on day one. For patients, it may be a quiet, uneventful move from the old hospital to their room at the new location.
To achieve the various definitions of success, training can explain the desired outcomes and the actions that would achieve this success. Performance indicators can be used to measure processes, to maintain operational sustainability and positive clinical outcomes.
Focus on the patient.
If you hold a magnifying glass over a pile of dry leaves on the hottest day of the year with the sun shining overhead, nothing will happen as long as you keep moving the magnifying class.
But as soon as you hold the magnifying glass still and focus the rays of the sun on just one leaf, the whole pile of leaves will erupt into flames. This is the beauty of focus.
If you focus the organization’s energy on your patients you will create energy that moves your teams forward. Problems that impact the patient will surface and be resolved, staff will feel more in control resulting in less stress and the organization will feel a common and shared purpose.
The opposite is also true. A lack of focus leads to scattered resources. Devoting time, energy and money to multiple tasks at the same time lead to none of them being executed well. It’s just not possible. All of this, in turn, leads to frustration, lack of progress and possible failure
A single consistent focus creates a common purpose and energy.
Familiarity happens quickly for some and slower for others.
It goes without saying that staff will feel stress before the move. The challenge is in supporting them in managing the stress level. This includes clear and consistent communications, helping staff to understand what to expect on move day and during the three months after the move.
Managers also need to understand that some people adapt to change faster than others. Some staff will be distracted and perhaps not performing at their typical standard which is normal during periods of large-scale change. Pushing people who adapt more slowly is a mistake and can backfire, creating frustration and slowing the process. At the same time, staff must have clear expectations and understand that new or different processes and other changes will not go away.
Beginning of continuous improvement.
Completion of the move is not the “end game.” While organizational readiness is critical to a smooth go-live transition, it’s not the end of the race either. Moving into a new facility is the beginning of continuous improvement, the work needed to get it right and setting the tone for the future. As healthcare shifts to value-based purchasing, measurable orientation and training become important to creating sustained improvement that goes far beyond move day. In today’s healthcare world, there is no finish line.
Mark Lewis, CEO Founder