Imprivata's Carina Edwards shares her 3 steps for a successful technology implementation: 3 questions with the senior vice president of customer experience

In this special Speaker Series, Becker's Healthcare caught up with Carina Edwards, senior vice president of customer experience at Imprivata.

Ms. Edwards will speak during the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference on "HIT Security & Privacy: Best Practices and Key Issues," at 9:00 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 20. Learn more about the event and register to attend in Chicago.

Question: Can you share your best advice for motivating your teams?

Carina Edwards: Common goals, transparent communication, living our culture and recognizing success. In my experience, being transparent on goals and measures of success, [as well as] using multi-channel communication, are critical for motivating teams. I lead an organization of 132 team members, half of whom work from their home office or from customer sites across 21 countries. My advice for motivating teams is to start with creating a common rallying cry that supports your corporate strategy — ours is "Create Customers for Life." From this, outline key goals and metrics, including your measurement of success. In communicating these goals, ensure you share the "Four Whys:"

1. Why is this important for the individual?

2. Why is this important for the team?

3. Why is this important for our customers?

4. Why is this important for our company?

Lastly, think through your communication strategy and cadence. I chose a quarterly all-hands call — recorded so folks with conflicts can watch at any time — and monthly email communication for sharing direction at the executive and board level, updates on progress and on-the-ground success stories. I frequently join sub-team meetings to hear about successes and challenges. And, I recognize achievements both within the group and throughout the entire company, tying back to our overall goals and the goals of our customers. It's critical to keep the team aligned with the corporate strategy, to highlight examples where the team is living Imprivata's culture and where work is translating into customer success. It's a reminder to the team that what they do every day is important. They are enabling care providers to deliver better, more efficient care. And it holds me accountable to our goal of creating customers for life.

Q: How does your organization gain physician buy-in when it is implementing a new technology or solution?

CE: Implementing a new system is never easy, but to ensure we gain physician buy-in, we use the following recipe for success:

1. Understand the customer's current state and outline their future state. Leveraging clinical resources from our team, we go onsite [to] observe clinical teams in their environments and document workflows in their "as-is" state. This allows us to baseline the current experience and build tangible goals for the solution being proposed, [for example,] reduce login times by 60 percent.

2. Engage the clinicians in the design, implementation and rollout of the new solution. From that baseline, we carefully identify and engage clinical champions in the workflow design to streamline productivity and increase satisfaction. During implementation, we over-communicate and have folks on the ground working alongside our champions to help with enrollment, training and answering ad hoc questions. This also gives our clinical resources the opportunity to collect feedback for future enhancements and best practices to share with other customers.

3. Optimize. A system is never fully implemented. There is always the opportunity to optimize and leverage new functionality. Think Microsoft Office — I think I use only about 30 percent of the features in Word. As part of our standard methodology, we circle back with the clinical champions and clinical teams three months post-deployment to take a new baseline and see where we can continue to optimize to achieve even more success for the end users.  

Q: What is your No. 1 deal breaker when it comes to evaluating vendor partnerships?

CE: I've changed the question a little bit [to] "What is your No. 1 deal breaker when it comes to evaluating customer partnerships?" At the core of a true partnership between a healthcare organization and a technology vendor there must be a shared goal at the executive level. Imprivata enjoys partnerships with 1,700 healthcare organizations around the world and, for the most part, we have a shared goal to bring technology to bear on the acceleration of the digital transformation, enabling providers to deliver care anytime, anywhere in an efficient, secure and scalable manner. We are in the solutions business, not the widgets business. My No. 1 deal breaker when it comes to evaluating customer partnerships is being relegated to "procurement." If there is no executive sponsor for the project, no common goal and no understanding of success and ROI — for both organizations — then our solution is not considered strategic and won't get the attention it needs to make the customer successful, [or in other words], a customer for life. 

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