Angela Ryan is a founding fellow and Vice Chair of the Australasian Institute of Digital Health and the former Chief Clinical Information officer for the Australian Digital Health Agency. Angela is the recipient of the inaugural 2021 Brilliant Women in Digital Health Award and 2017 Churchill Fellow. Angela has extensive experience across the Australian health system in senior leadership, executive and clinical roles, across federal, state, and local settings. Her recent role as panel member for the Governing for Reform in Aged Care’s latest Webinar: Exploring the role of governing bodies and executives in leading digital adoption, makes her the perfect person to talk to about all things tech. This includes how governing bodies and executives can be leaders in digital adoption.
In this article, Angela talks about emerging opportunities when it comes to adopting technology in the sector and how governing body members and executives play a key role when it comes to the successful change of adopting new technology. To understand more, keep reading…
What are the biggest opportunities in the sector when it comes to adopting technology?
We know that broadly technology can facilitate safer and higher quality care and deal with many of the intractable issues currently facing the health system. We also know that technology is not a solution for everything but it does present real opportunities to address some of these intractable issues – some of which are felt keenly in the aged care sector, such as medication management.
Medication management and safety can be optimised through clearer presentation of medicines information and greater transparency and accountability with prescribing and administration information. This removes some of the risks that are seen with paper-based medication management.
Another opportunity is in enabling access to better data and information, which can then be used to support improvements in care models, and inform the evidence base more broadly. This can help us toward our goal of ensuring residents and consumers are better informed, and more in control of their health and care.
We also know because the evidence tells us that it can also reduce duplication of care, reduce unwarranted variation in care, reduce preventable harm, and improve the resident/consumer experience.
How can executives and governing bodies raise the importance of technology adoption to their colleagues?
Resistance to change is one of the greatest barriers to any transformation. Digital transformation/enablement is essentially a giant process of change which can bring enormous upheaval, and that can make people deeply uncomfortable – almost fearful.
Understanding and planning for how people react and respond to change is critical. In my experience, it means:
- thoroughly understanding the problem/s you are seeking to solve, before contemplating solutions or talking about technology
- getting everyone engaged in the process up front, and as the process evolves
- taking the time to engage the full workforce, not just the clinicians, support staff, or management
- reframing how the organisation thinks about change and placing the problem at the centre to provide the transformation with meaning and reinforce the adoption of new mindsets, ways of working and the opportunity for continuous improvement.
Another critical aspect is executive sponsorship. Having a senior change leader/champion with influence that can empower the broader team is fundamental, and that needs to be accompanied by strong communication channels with clear and concise messaging that occurs in a regular and meaningful way.
Identifying early adopters who want to be a part of this process will also support cascading of these messages. It won’t be possible to bring everyone along on the journey but getting the fundamentals right upfront gives the transformation the best chance of success.
To hear more from Angela Ryan, enrol in the Governing for Reform Program today and listen to the webinar on Exploring the role of governing bodies and executives in leading digital adoption VIDEO COURSE (agedcarequality.gov.au).