Change Management in Healthcare

Change Management in Healthcare: Processes, Strategies, and Tools

Health care is constantly changing. Find out the latest in change management and how to implement processes and strategies.

Due to its intricate and complex nature, healthcare is an industry that can be particularly difficult to instigate change in. Every day, institutions must attend to the needs of their patients, effectively allocate personnel and resources, comply with regulations, and make decisions that will positively affect their bottom line. How can you create an effective change management process?

In the face of so much to consider, healthcare organizations must adapt and make amendments to stay up-to-date and competitive while addressing the challenges of talent erosion.

After all, evolution and transformation are an integral part of any industry, so those who can quickly and effectively adapt will enjoy a competitive edge.

Constructing the ideal change management approach is essential to adequately assess, implement, and evaluate a proposed shift.

To guarantee that you take advantage of the full potential of the business transformation process, this piece examines the techniques, strategies, and tools necessary to ensure smooth changes within a healthcare organization.

To effectively drive Change Management, you need to look into its two components:

  • Change Management Process Design: Choosing a model for change and designing how to get to your future/ideal state- your roadmap, including how people will behave in the new state and how processes/operations will work.
  • Change Management: The process of guiding organizational change to fruition, from the earliest stages of conception and preparation, through implementation and, finally, to resolution.

The Change Management Process

This article focuses on Change Management Process Design in Healthcare.

This process is typically divided into four key stages: planning, implementation, evaluation, and closure.

In a survey of thousands of board members who forced out their chief executive, most pointed to a failure to adequately sell the need to change course or the lack of an effective change management model. Needless to say, planning how to drive change is critical to your success.

Top reasons boards members replaced CEOs

1. Planning

Before executing any modification within a healthcare organization, it’s imperative to identify optimistic goals and objectives for the change in question. This could mean anything from reorganizing operations, cutting back on staff or materials, or transitioning to an upgraded system.

You will need to respond to two vital questions before, during, and after the change management process.

  1. Why is this change important? (To you, the organization, the employee, the client, etc.)
  2. What are we trying to achieve? (Performance, metrics, compliance, workplace environment, etc.)
Questions to define and iterate throughout your process

Before any change has been made, it must be assessed objectively to decide if it is the right choice for the organization and all those involved.

Analysis should include financial, legal, and ethical considerations, as well as any potential risks that could thwart the change process.

When driving change, you will want to define clear goals and objectives.

One question we ask all our clients is: What are the key metrics linked to this change?

Using metrics will provide feedback on the effectiveness of the change and its impact on the business. It can add quantifiable, business-impact data to what has often been carried out as a qualitative process.

When the change is decided upon, assign responsibilities and set timelines.

In order to avoid any discrepancies or confusion during the change process, all personnel must be aware of their roles within the change management process.

We suggest you define and integrate key stakeholders early in your process. About three-quarters of change efforts fail.

You will need stakeholder and senior leadership buy-in and support to drive change. Ideally, they will become the early adopters and change agents who will help you in the next phase: Implementation.

2. Implementation

Change Management Process-Implementation

The change must then be implemented. Maintaining an open dialogue with everyone involved is integral for the success of this process, as it keeps all parties informed on what’s happening and how they’ll be impacted.

You can also provide change management training to help employees understand the change and how it affects their roles. This can be done in the form of workshops or webinars, where key stakeholders can discuss the change process openly.

In our experience, integrating the initiative or project sponsor to share the imperatives of the change increases employee adoption.

We also set up communication plans and additional tools to ensure that the goal, purpose, metrics, and human emotions are in your team’s top-of-mind and appropriately addressed.

In a shocking study, only 15% of employees always understand the rationale behind their leader’s strategy. We encourage you to be an inclusive leader. Communicate strategically and make your team an asset in your implementation efforts.

Percentage of employees understand the rationale behind their leader’s strategy

3. Monitor and Evaluation

Change Management Process - Monitor and Evaluation

When a transformation has been set in motion, it is essential to monitor its progress and adapt as needed. Gauge the success of your change by assessing whether or not it meets its pre-defined objectives.

If these targets are not being attained, additional steps must be taken to ensure this transition is achieved successfully.

For instance, if there is a change in the organization’s structure, devise ways to measure and monitor progress. This could be anything from tracking employee productivity or surveying customer satisfaction.

Another critical factor to consider is whether employees are adapting to the change; take surveys or hold interviews to get a better grasp of how employees feel about it.

Like with any well-managed project, you will benefit from clearly defined timelines and milestones.

Attaching metrics to milestones and making sure that key metrics are part of your timeline will alert you of aspects of the change that require your attention.

This is a risk mitigation strategy and a proactive way of delivering results on time.

Data and analytics are great tools to complement your change management efforts. A mix of qualitative and quantitative input will help you take your project across the finish line.

The data and accomplishments can be tracked using dashboards or other visual tools that excite the team about the project’s progress while helping identify red flags

Attach Metrics to 

When you’re satisfied with the milestones achieved and the change management process outcomes, it’s time to move on to the closure stage.

4. Closure

Change Management Process-Closure

This is when change management ends. It marks the point where all change objectives have been met, and all parties involved have settled into their new roles.

This is the phase where you achieve the targets and desired performance within your team or organization.

At this stage, document the change process and its outcomes so that you can refer back to it in the future.

This will help inform your decision-making if similar changes are needed. It’s also important to recognize everyone involved; reward key players who made the transition process successful with incentives and recognition.

During our decades-long experience, we developed the habit of incorporating a lessons-learned session as part of our closure phase.

These sessions allow us to celebrate achievements, recognize the team and identify the challenges and opportunities for future sustainability and continued improvements.

Change Management Strategies for Healthcare

Change Management Support Toolkit

When it comes to successful change management, certain methodologies provide additional support.

While we’ve already discussed a few, let’s embark on an in-depth journey outlining all the steps necessary for a streamlined transition process.

Investing in such an effective solution will lead to more natural success across all areas of the business.

Here are some of the methodologies:

1. Lean Six Sigma:
With its marriage of Lean and Six Sigma principles, this process improvement methodology is designed to showcase a data-driven approach in order to reduce waste, enhance quality, and rid your organization of any existing inefficiencies.

2. Kaize:
A Japanese expression for “continuous improvement,” Kaizen is an excellent approach to instill in the healthcare field.

It requires that medical personnel be proactive and enthusiastic about generating ideas on how to upgrade their procedures and systems while sustaining progress on the quality and patient safety. Kaizen, unlike Lean Six Sigma, is a 2-to-5-day event.

3. Communication and Engagement:
This strategy involves engaging stakeholders in the change process and keeping them informed.

It may involve regular town hall meetings, staff surveys, or focus groups to ensure that everyone understands the changes and has an opportunity to provide feedback.

4. Training and Development:
Upskilling personnel is fundamental to change management in the healthcare industry.

This may require staff to be trained on new systems or processes and provide them with leadership development programs that will help manage and lead changes proactively.

5. Collaborative Decision-Making:
By incorporating a multi-disciplinary team in the decision-making and problem-solving process, we can ensure that all perspectives are taken into account.

This ensures that the implemented changes will be evaluated from multiple perspectives within the organization to achieve sustainable decisions.

6. Risk Management:
Uncertainty and potential risks are often looming when it comes to change.

A risk-management and risk-mitigation strategy are essential to recognize, assess and manage any possible disruptions affecting patient care, transformations of staff roles, or detrimental influences on financial outcomes.

7. Performance Management:
Performance management is an ever-evolving system of observation and analysis, as well as making alterations to systems or cultures when required.

In healthcare, this can include routine evaluations of patient results, personnel well-being, and financial efficiency.

The change management process can be streamlined by implementing appropriate tools and technology.

Here are some examples:

  1. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications for improved resource utilization
  2. Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) to track and monitor personnel changes
  3. Analytics software to assess performance and identify areas of improvement
  4. Process automation solutions and equipment to streamline processes
  5. Decision support tools to facilitate data-driven decision making
  6. Quality Improvement Systems to ensure compliance with quality standards and patient safety guidelines.


There is no universal blueprint for change management, even within a specific industry like healthcare.

Nonetheless, regardless of which department or sector you are working in, you will reap the rewards of applying the previously mentioned strategies and tools.

When change is properly managed, you can ensure that desired outcomes are achieved, and disruptions to everyday operations are minimized.

What change management strategies are part of your professional toolkit? How ready are you to tackle the upcoming changes in your organization?



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