September 21, 2022

3 min

Post-Deployment Assessments Help Healthcare Providers Improve ROI

User feedback and product update information ensure that providers fully optimize collaboration platforms.

With all the work that goes into deploying a new clinical communication and collaboration platform, it can be tempting to believe the work is complete once solutions have been rolled out. Yet there are good reasons for project teams to check in with frontline staff after they’ve used a solution for a while. 

Despite their best intentions, a project team may have designed workflows that don’t work well in practice. The only way to find out is to solicit users’ feedback. Another common scenario occurs when a project team intends to augment an initial deployment with additional enhancements that become buried in ever-changing organizational priorities. Unless the enhancements address an immediate business driver, they may fall by the wayside as other initiatives take precedence. In addition, vendors may update a platform with new features or capabilities, but without a method for capturing those advances and communicating them to users, they may never make it into workflows. 

Culture and operating models will determine the style and frequency of feedback loops. Some organizations might set a post-deployment standard of quarterly or annual check-ins. Others may use brief surveys during deployment so they can make adjustments along the way. If a year or two has passed since an organization deployed a new platform, that’s a great time to assess its effectiveness by asking for user feedback.

Evaluate How Well Platforms Are Working for Frontline Staff

An excellent first step is to reconvene the implementation team that planned the platform deployment. If clinical processes are humming along, that may well be the end of the discussion. Often, though, project sponsors are already aware of rumblings from frontline staff about pain points related to the platform or its adoption.

If there are opportunities to make improvements or investigate further, the team can decide the best way to proceed. At a minimum, that should include conversations and observations on the floor to understand how the platform works for users. In the language of lean processes and Six Sigma, this is the “get to the Gemba” moment: Instead of designing workflows and procedures in a vacuum, IT and organizational leaders should watch them in action and obtain direct feedback.

Identify Opportunities to Expand the Value of Solutions

Assessments can also determine whether users are taking full advantage of a platform’s capabilities. It’s not unusual for users and the project team to have grand plans about how they’ll incorporate all the bells and whistles into their workflows. But everyone gets busy, and people settle into a routine because they don’t have time to figure out something new.

In fact, not having a feedback loop is one of the most significant contributors to solution sprawl. When organizations don’t realize that an existing solution has potential they’re missing out on, they’re likely to invest in another solution instead of optimizing the one they have.

Look to IT Vendors to Highlight Important Solution Updates

Organizations should have a system for learning about upgrades from vendors. New features may make a collaboration platform more robust or enable the organization to simplify the environment by eliminating a redundant tool. Vendors are constantly updating their systems to provide more value, and that information often doesn’t reach operational teams. 

One of the best approaches is to lean on vendors to keep an organization apprised of updates that will be most useful for its environment. Vendors are generally the biggest advocates for their solutions, so they should know what users want to receive information about. 

Circling back to users is an easy step to overlook. Still, it’s essential to ensure that they take full advantage of a collaboration platform and that the organization achieves the desired return on its investment.

Story by Elliott Wilson, who has spent his career in nonprofit healthcare provider systems. He has built an extensive background forming and translating digital strategies that combine with on-the-ground clinical operational realities.

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