Did your On Call Software implementation fall short on its promise? The problem may not be in the software usability or technology, but in the lack of socio-cultural consideration.
Does this sound familiar? Even with great user-centered design, and dependable technology, the software isn’t being used as much and in as many places as you expected. Or maybe it is being slowly, slowly adopted and you feel you are constantly advocating for it.
Your younger, Next Generation physicians can be the powerful change agents in your organization that you are looking for. They are not only tech savvy, but they have great confidence in technology and expect the organization to provide them with a well designed solution that will support their work. How can you tap this enthusiasm within your Group and grow the use of your on call scheduling software at the same time?
Here are five key characteristics of younger doctors that smart Groups build on to accelerate adoption of a new on-call scheduling solution.
1) They expect to adapt. Next Generation doctors are tech savvy. They are not only familiar with technology; they adopt new software more rapidly than previous generations in general. Though they prefer to use technology they are familiar with, they welcome new solutions since they value the stimulation and challenge as part of job satisfaction.
2) They expect immediacy. They want on-demand information relevant to what they are doing right now, with on-line electronic communication being the most common avenue.
3) They expect to share. A top priority for younger physicians is a well-balanced lifestyle with plenty of life experience. They not only want a challenging job, but they also need time for their own private experiences. They are not afraid to try new things on their own, then show others. They are collaborators and value sharing what they have learned.
4) They expect improvement. They want software to continue to change and improve over time, while remaining “user-friendly” and stable, with minimal “beta testing” exposure. Their experience with Apple, Google and Amazon reinforces the idea that things should “just work” with minimum training, but they don't expect perfection right "out of the box" either.
5) They expect mobile support. Younger doctors expect computer access and high-speed internet access to be available in sufficient quantities and in appropriate locations. They expect to be able to use their mobile devices wirelessly from wherever they are, whenever needed.
While these physician “change agents” can bring the energy needed for change from the “bottom up”, senior Physicians make the critical decisions. Groups with a strong hierarchical tradition will most likely expect younger doctors to conform rather than embrace new changes. This can be a problem in adopting new software solutions, and new technology in general.
What to do? Loosen up. Empower the younger physicians to research and lead the way in adopting on-call scheduling software. Given the technologically oriented point of view of Next Generation physicians, why not allow them to train on and utilize the new on-call scheduling software first? This includes syncing their personal on-call schedule into their SmartPhones and using various whiteboards while planning family events. Then let them “present” to others in the Group.
Previous generations of doctors tended to remain within the same Group for a long time… possibly their entire career. Next Generation physicians will move from one Group to another in search of a better lifestyle for themselves and their families. To attract and retain these younger physicians, Groups will need to take a closer look at their socio-culture and take advantage of next generation "know how".
Key takeaway: Traditional medical hierarchy maybe preventing you from reaching your on-call schedule (and other technology) goals. To attract and retain younger physicians, let them research and lead the way in adopting on-call scheduling software and other technology solutions. Otherwise, instead of accelerating the adoption of software, you may find adoption stale-mate.