At large clinical research institutions, technology use can vary greatly across departments. Fragmented structures and budgets can result in many different solutions to similar problems, each with its own pros and cons. While clinical-focused solutions are often a key priority in order to maintain excellent patient care, operational and administrative technology can stagnate.
However, identifying the most effective technology solutions and implementing those enterprise-wide can have an immediate impact. At Forte, our expertise is in clinical research operations, and below are tips we’ve heard from our customers about expanding their use of the OnCore Enterprise Research System. While these suggestions were provided in the context of a clinical trial management system, they can be applied when scaling any technology across your organization.
Assessing the Situation
The first step in expanding technology is identifying those within your organization who are best addressing the problem at hand. This team can help lead the expansion project and/or you can leverage their expertise to find a new solution. The responsibility of identifying these experts is best left to your leadership team, as they typically aren’t invested in any one solution, and can objectively assess the situation.
Managing the Change
Once you’ve identified the best solution and determined who will lead the project internally, you need to plan for a successful enterprise-wide implementation. This will require a new team that will act as a steering committee. In addition to members of the project team noted above, the steering committee should include representatives from all departments who will be using the new technology. As the technology will impact teams across your entire enterprise, it’s important to make sure the each one of those teams has a voice.
Selling the Solution Internally
As your enterprise project takes shape, it’s important to constantly communicate progress and “sell” the technology within your organization. This step is often overlooked, and can derail the launch of your new solution if users don’t understand how to use it or what benefits it brings to them. In most cases, team members have an existing (though possibly inferior) product with which they’re already comfortable. In order to generate buy-in, you need to show users specifically how their effort will contribute to the greater good of the organization, whether it’s enhancing operational efficiency, improving patient care, boosting staff morale and/or increasing organizational transparency, just to name a few.
Defining a Smart, Realistic Launch
An enterprise technology implementation doesn’t end on your go-live date. You should plan for additional optimization based on user feedback. Consequently, it’s best to launch your new product to a subset of users first. After testing within this smaller group, you can better anticipate and address issues before launching the solution across your entire enterprise. Your steering committee can help identify the best users to participate in this pilot, focusing on the most common use cases within your institution.
Setting Clear Utilization Expectations
You’ve put together a brilliant steering committee, worked to promote your new technology to new users and successfully tested it internally. Your next step is to establish user adoption across the institution. As noted above, many team members may be reluctant to abandon their current solutions, but in most cases your new technology will only be successful if use is mandated across the organization. Work with team leaders to establish clear expectations regarding use, and ensure that users have access to proper training and support resources to remove any possible roadblocks.
The utilization of technology across your research enterprise will be a hot topic at next week’s AACI-CRI 2019 Conference in Chicago, IL. If you’ll be at the conference, stop by the Forte booth to learn more about our OnCore Enterprise Research System, Forte eRegulatory Management System, EVAL Research Evaluation System and more.