Best Practices for Developing an Effective Cerner Optimization Communication Plan

Nov 15, 2016 9:58:21 AM · by David Kushan

A centerpiece of Cerner optimization best practices is a communication strategy that takes into account the needs of key stakeholders to build support for the changes optimization brings. This communication plan should be customized to account for your organization’s unique needs, keeping in mind the way your end-users interact with the software.

Being successful involves working with business partners within the organization to communicate project goals in a positive manner to ensure a smooth path toward success. By doing this, you help to ensure your Cerner optimization moves on the right track.

Tailored Communication Works Best

Devising a communication plan helps everyone within the organization get a better understanding of why optimization is occurring and what its benefits will be. In cases where optimization will bring changes to everyday systems or even workflows, it’s vital to ensure that end users understand the goals behind the process. Otherwise, such changes may feel like needless tinkering to those not directly involved. Working with department stakeholder groups can be helpful in spreading the concept of optimization downstream to the staff level.

Start with building general awareness about the optimization process, but follow this up with sessions in which key stakeholders in each department are informed of objectives and timelines. They should also be given an opportunity to express their concerns, which should be incorporated into planning. These stakeholders can then pass on this information through established channels. For organizations lacking such clear lines of management, it may be valuable to have mandatory sessions with staff to communicate with them directly.

A successful communications strategy should try to take the complex and technical aspects of Cerner optimization and boil it down into simple benefits that are relevant to each stakeholders’ group. For nurses, the focus could be on the time that can be saved by a more customized UI. For pharmacy, you can emphasize functionality that helps solve some of that area’s pain points, such as order prioritization. It’s all about customizing the communication to the audience.

Find The Right People To Relay Messages

During the communication planning, identify key stakeholders whose teams and functions will be affected by the process. It’s important to work with management allies to demonstrate the ongoing business case for optimization; this puts individuals with clout in the optimization project’s corner, protecting it if difficulties arise. Consultants working on the project should have a clear understanding of intra-organizational politics and each area’s priorities in order to be more effective.

It can also be valuable to build relationships with super-users who can be coaches and champions and help spread the message of the optimization project’s benefits.  They are the ones that are going to be excited and supportive of improved or new functionality. Canvassing the leadership team, focus groups, and power users in advance of optimization plan development helps to build the organizational case for optimization and creates a wave of support behind this ongoing project.

Listening Is Important

As part of this process, it’s important to understand that an effective communication strategy involves way more than just spreading messages about the project. The Cerner optimization team should also be aware of messages coming in their direction, such as complaints and feedback received directly from staff or through department leadership. Ultimately, the success of Cerner optimization is largely dependent on how well staff members use the system. Fostering increased buy-in among them leads to better results.

The optimization team should meet regularly with management allies and Cerner coaches to check out the status of organizational communication about the project. Regular meetings with stakeholder focus groups will give a better idea of areas for improvement and help with gauging the overall success of optimization.

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