Aligning HR digital transformation to support remarkable patient care

My now ‘grown-up’ 7-year-old son visited my office some time ago to help me set it up and hang some pictures. He asked me: Dad, where are the patients, nurses, and doctors? You work in a hospital but I only see computers and desks. Did you see any patients today? I sat down with him and tried to explain in more detail how I support those team members who do see patients.

This made me think more about it! Am I understanding what supporting my customers truly means? Do I support them where they need me to do so? We have conversations; we research, engage and have meetings to understand what our customers are doing and strategize an efficient support system for them... But is this enough? To really understand what our customers do and meet them where they need us we must try to walk in their shoes.

At Novant Health HR we are transforming how we deliver services to our team members and candidates by using digital capabilities that support making healthcare remarkable. Enhancing the experience and delivering those services really requires an additional look into their day-to-day work.

Where do we start to ensure we meet our customers where they are?

Often we find ourselves assuming that our customers are in the same place where we are. If something is easy for us, we may assume that it is easy for our customers to do the same, or at least comparable. It is essential to relate to our customers’ daily work challenges when making decisions on delivering digital services.

We, as a team in HR Technology, were determined to change that unconscious ignorance and started exploring earlier this year how we could really walk in our customers’ shoes. With support from our HR executive leadership and from the Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center, we learned that there is a program called “Walk A Mile In My Shoes.” We started engaging with the leadership team at the Medical Center and were surprised about their excitement and availability for our team to join their front line staff and literally walk alongside them as they delivered remarkable care.

How did it go and what did we learn?

All of us were somewhat nervous. All of us on the team had experienced healthcare from being a patient but really did not realize what it means to deliver it continuously! We wanted to help in any way we could while feeling quite scared of making mistakes.

The day finally came. After the orientation process with the staff, we were paired with front line team members and we shadowed them throughout their day. These front line team members ranged from RN’s, CNA’s to Radiology Techs.

During the afternoon, we joined them as they visited with patients, followed them as they were completing their tasks and we were able to engage with them to learn where we can improve in order to support them better. All of us were humbled, impressed and amazed at the care, compassion, efforts, and agility that our team members strive to deliver to our patients. This was an eye-opening experience; the compassion that they feel for their patients and the small acts of kindness and attention to detail that they provide to patients was inspiring.

After the afternoon was over, not only did we understand what our team members’ days usually look like, but we also formed relationships and gained insights that will help us serve them better. The fear of making mistakes went away quickly, as we suddenly were put in the frontline positions to help make our patients’ experience remarkable. Sometimes, a smile is part of that engagement and now that we experienced it, we will strive to be better prepared to support the actual frontline staff members.

How do we deliver digital solutions to team members and customers?

So yes, based on our experience, the first step should be -start walking in your customer shoes! You really will develop an understanding of their day-to-day work. Once you have experienced it, delivering digital services will have a complete perspective.

After this humbling experience, we are energized, eager and ready to personalize our support for them to ensure they have all of the HR tools to continue rendering the remarkable patient care that our patients deserve!

I will leave you with this thought. Walking in your customers’ shoes will help you deliver services and solutions that meet their needs exactly where they are. From an HR technology perspective, our goal is to make our services as seamless in our clinicians’ lives so that they can focus on delivering remarkable patient care. It is a crucial part of our work!

About the author:
Alen Brcic is the Director of HR Technology at Novant Health, responsible for the digitization of the people business.

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