Can you imagine driving to a new place without GPS? We rely on Google Maps, Waze and other apps to get us where we want to go quickly and efficiently.

Jennifer Mihm, Clinical Forms Specialist with Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colo., knows that rolling out a solution or device in a hospital can feel a little like driving without a map. There’s no voice to tell you when you’re off course or to “proceed to the route.”

Since 2018, when PMC implemented iPads in Admissions for patient intake, as well as in some clinical areas, Jennifer has learned a few important lessons about the process. In this post, we share her best practices for securing clinician and staff buy-in, and how to ensure your tablet rollout doesn’t run out of gas.

Jennifer says there are three keys to a successful tablet rollout:

  1. Ask for input
  2. Understand function
  3. Tackle concerns

Key 1: Ask for input

Giving clinicians and medical staff members a voice in selecting the technology and tools that impact their day-to-day is critical to a successful rollout and adoption.

The Society of Human Resource Managers agrees. The organization says involving workers in technology decisions and asking what they need can help speed up adoption rates.

When it came to tablet cases, Jennifer learned the importance of asking for input early in the process. Looking back, she says she would have gotten several iPad cases for users to try and give feedback, rather than just one option.

Like all jobs, different roles in hospitals call for different tools. When it comes to device cases, one size definitely does not fit all. The Admissions department needed a slimmer case that could easily be handled by all ages and dexterity levels, in order to ensure a positive patient experience. The clinical team, though, required a case that could protect an iPad in a dynamic – even chaotic – environment. Plus, it was critical for the clinical team to have a medical-grade case that could be wiped down in order to prevent the spread of hospital acquired infections.

Jennifer says making unilateral decisions is one of the fastest ways to see your tablet rollout crash and burn. Ask users for their input, and you’ll build project champions early in the process.

Key 2: Understand function

The best chance of user adoption doesn’t start and end with asking users what they think. Jennifer says you also have to understand their processes.

A successful rollout is more than converting paper forms to electronic versions and putting them on a slick tablet. If you don’t know how a form functioned on paper, then you probably won’t know how it should work electronically.

As a member of the PMC Informatics team, Jennifer bridges her clinical background and expertise with the hospital’s IT needs. She looks at an implementation from all angles and from the viewpoint of every user. Ultimately, though, if she doesn’t understand the workflow and function of the tool, she risks frustrating users and seeing the hospital’s investment stall on the shelf.

Key 3: Tackle concerns

When you ask people to change a process they’ve used their entire career, pushback is bound to happen.

Jennifer said the Admissions team was initially concerned that using tablets in place of paper hospital forms would take too long and delay the admittance process.

That’s where the manager of the PMC Admissions team stepped in. The manager completed several sample admissions on the iPad and timed herself. The result? The manager completed the sample admissions 25 seconds faster on the iPad than with paper forms.

Clinicians also shared concerns about using tablets. They appreciated that iPads would let them interact with patients more, but they worried about carrying the device and their iPhones. Jennifer addressed this by ensuring the tablets were located in an area that clinicians could quickly access and take to the bedside.

There’s bound to be a learning curve with the implementation of any device or new technology – especially when some staff members and clinicians have relied on paper forms for decades. But now Jennifer says that she never hears anyone say that they want to go back to paper.

NOTEABLE: A PMC Admissions manager timed herself completing several sample forms on the iPad. The result? She finished the forms 25 seconds faster on the device than on paper.

Implementing tablets in hospitals is a journey with lots of curves, some straight road, and most likely, even a few dead ends. But by applying Jennifer’s three keys, you can accelerate the likelihood of a successful device rollout and limit the time your hospital spends spinning its wheels.

Read the Access Tablet Playbook for Healthcare for more best practices on implementing devices in your hospital.  


Cody Strate

Written by Cody Strate

For more than 10 years, Cody has helped healthcare organizations worldwide eliminate the costs and risks of paper through e-forms and e-signature solutions. In addition to helping others achieve their paperless goals, Cody finds time to put his biochemistry degree to work in the kitchen testing out new recipes on his unsuspecting family.