Navigo Blog

Tips to Better Software Adoption in HealthCare

Written by Tom Wade

April 27, 2015

15377336_sNew software systems for Healthcare promise to transform the way care is delivered, to improve the quality of care and to dramatically reduce cost and improve value.

The potential of Big Data and Machine Intelligence marks a turning point in how human health is managed; much is at stake.

But even the most brilliant technology won’t impact your organisation without good user adoption.

Here are a few insights and approaches that can foster high levels of adoption in clinical settings.


First: Understand

Take the time to thoroughly understand the end users: the conditions under which they work, the climate, culture, stresses, routines, celebrations, leaders, influencers, knowledge holders… These factors will be different from building to building and from one clinical unit to another. It is essential that you explore the variations and subtle differences that must be accounted for in developing an effective adoption strategy.

Connect with unit managers and clinical educators: understand as much as possible about how the unit runs. How is training delivered now? How are new hires onboarded? What is the approach to introducing new procedures, drugs, or equipment? How are certifications achieved, maintained and tracked? Is there a project on which the unit is currently working? Where can you add immediate and obvious value?

Front line employees and their managers typically don’t not want their work to be disrupted. With numerous unions involved, things become complicated fast.


The overriding and singular driving force is that these exceptional folks who accomplish extraordinary things daily, deserve a state-of-the-art learning system that will make learning central to work.

However, no part of the implementation or day-to-day use can be allowed to disrupt work. Clinicians could improve practice through learning as a part of work rather than some external experience that then had to be made relevant. It is not as daunting as it may sound. Understanding end users and their motivations helps turn constraints into guides and then the right strategy emerges.

Build Buzz with a Mix of Mystery and Curiosity19140402_s

Strong branding and well-planned communication is critical to adoption. Mystery and curiosity can go a long way in supporting adoption. Partner with your PR/Communications/Marketing folks for expertise.

Select a powerful and resonant name for the environment. Create a communication plan that delivers an increasing amount of detail over time, across the organisation. Start with simple, vague ideas and as you get closer to implementation and GoLive, get very specific about which units were selected for the privilege to pilot the new system.

Build ‘buzz’ with a sense of exclusivity, privilege and anticipation. If employees are not asking questions about what is coming, when, and to whom, then you have not created enough interest.

  • Create a teaser campaign with eye catching graphics or ideas a few months in advance
  • Follow with email campaign with more details
  • Engage the organisation with contests to drive more awareness
  • Offer first-come first served access to early access
  • Publish and update rollout schedule on tight cadence to keep interest

With some foresight and creativity you can make the rollout interesting, exclusive and desired.

pilotCreate an Exclusive Pilot Program

With Cloud solutions, pilots provide more opportunity to focus on end user access and adoption since there is less about technical complexity to manage..

  • Based on your resources, select a manageable number of Units (Surgery, Emergency…) and/or Areas of Practice (IV Therapy, Wound Care…) for a pilot. The idea is to identify areas of common interest and meaning at the most granular level. In so doing, you can connect with users on a well targeted set of needs and interests. Nothing drives adoption and engagement like direct relevance!
  • Work with Clinical Educators and Unit managers to select internal Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for Areas of Practice for the pilot.
  • Think about the impact of relevance. Consider the power of ownership and enablement.

There are, of course, business requirements that may force you to provide access to training for all users across the entire enterprise at once.

I can think of no other reason for this than compliance requirements i.e. complete one or more courses by a specific time. This has little to do with adoption so treat it as such. Use the Saba DeepLink function to take targeted user directly to the required course which they will easily launch and complete.

Remember that the objective is access and completion of a course so focus on that outcome.


It is likely that this ‘controlled GoLive’ can work in any healthcare system for any type of software. You need the right toolset to make it happen and fortunately, when it comes to Learning and Talent Management, Saba is ideal.

  1. Do the leg-work. Get to know your organisation in-depth. Connect and gain appreciation for culture and climate.
  2. Map out your organisation by Site (for multi-site organisations), by Clinical Unit (Surgery, Emergency….) and by Area of Practice (Wound Care, IV Therapy….).
  3. Build a detailed plan for GoLive across your organisation. Consider how the system is going to be made available to which specific unitsand when.
  4. Create and initiate your communication plan; broadly and then focused on GoLive targets
  5. Select your pilot units and Areas of Practice
  6. Set-up the Clinical Educators, possibly Unit Managers, Unit Clerks and SMEs with appropriate levels of Admin rights based on yourGovernance Framework and Policies
  7. Train this handful of individuals on very specifically required workflows
  8. Use Saba Course Catalog, Workspaces, Blogs, Discussions and Video Channels as required to build/provide content for Areas of Practice.
  9. Fit your GoLive activity into the workflow of each target unit. Be physically present and offer Sign On sessions at the start, end and in-between shifts. This offers endusers the support they may need for first access and reduces anxiety.
  10. Take users to the content for the relevant Areas of Practice. This is key. They must see learning content, experiences and people that they recognise and value!
  11. Repeat for each defined group or unit across the organisation including non-clinical departments such as HR or Legal.

It is worth noting that there are numerous additional benefits in this approach to adoption including inter-professional collaboration, standardisation of practice, knowledge capture and curation.

More About Adoption

There are several key theoretical constructs to be familiar with when planning your adoption strategy. This includes:

  • Adult learning, cognition, instructional design, diffusion and adoption curve theories and
  • Stakeholder engagement, change management, governance, training and support.

Article from Vin Seunath, SABA


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