All Aboard !

Change managers play a decisive role in getting staff on board with new software systems.  

The greater the change, the greater the resistance, it seems. 

I was fortunate to discover this business rule early on and figured that the easy way out with new software was to pay a lot of attention to User Interfaces. 

In the area of EMRs/EHRs where it is self -defeating to try to capture information faster than scribbling something on a small piece of paper (never mind the fact that no one will be able to read the note), it seemed to me the next best thing was to provide staff with a UI that mimicked a traditional day calendar and “to-do” list.

If you think about it we all attend to our fixed appointments each day and work on our to-do lists between appointments. So, a single UI window with a calendar on one side and a listbox on the other side is familiar and covers 100% of what we all do, every day, all day long.

Still, once in a while you will come up against a group that is particularly resistant to a new system. This is where change managers come in.

I recall one situation where my client warned me in advance that things would be difficult. Several stakeholders were specifically singled out as ‘dangerous’.

The client recommended multiple training sessions over an extended period of time. 

I countered that the best way to handle this would be to provide no training and to set up one computer terminal within a perimeter with a small sign that read “Keep Out”. 

Phase II of the plan was to pick a product champion and have this person work at the terminal with explicit instructions not to divulge any information regarding what he was doing.

After about 2 days, we started to get complaints – “. . . why was I not informed of this initiative?”.  We dodged all such questions. 

Two days later the problem had escalated to the point where one individual came in and pounded the table demanding to be given access.  The staff member had no clue what it was she was being denied access to, but she wanted access.  Again, we said we were sorry but powerless to do anything.

After a few more days, we announced that due to popular demand, all staff would have access to the new system and if anyone wanted training, we would be happy to provide it.

So far as I am able to recall, the implementation went forward with minimum fanfare.


Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, major crimes case management, healthcare services delivery, and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2019 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions.
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