More is better in the ImagineNation Outcomes Challenge, where “more” means an increase in the number of users and uses of technologies that help patients and their clinicians. Challenge teams have been creative and determined in their pursuit of the Momentum and Overall awards, employing a variety of innovative strategies to accelerate the use of their solutions. Luckily for us, the Trailblazer award required them to spill their secrets, allowing us to share the best ideas for accelerating growth.
Many teams started with the basics: advertising with posters and handouts in the clinic and banners on their website. Some have taken this a step further by planning to translate these into languages commonly spoken by clients. But teams also plan to reach out more directly, sending direct e-mail to non-users and holding a draw for users. At one clinic, when patients call to book an appointment, the clinic’s voicemail message will remind them they can also do so online. Other clinics are reaching out through Facebook and Twitter.
Expanding where the service is available is another strategy teams are employing. Where e-scheduling services are only available for doctor visits, they could be expanded to nursing appointments. Incentive award proceeds have been used to implement a solution in additional clinics, or licence the software to other providers. A team that currently performs medication reconciliation in home care will start using their solution in long-term care facilities. A hospital will expand their medication reconciliation training and responsibility to nurses in specialty areas like pediatrics and physician assistants at discharge.
Directing efforts towards staff can also be effective at increasing growth. Teams have proposed offering staff incentives for reaching targets for use, and building functionality for referring professionals to e-schedule patients directly. One team will integrate prompts for their clinical synoptic reporting technology into the iPad technology their clinicians already use. Staff education is another important theme, from developing e-learning suites for staff to making available ongoing service refresher instruction sessions and onsite training.
By improvement of the functionality of their solution, teams are making them more appealing to use. This can be achieved by focussing on improving ease-of-use, making plans to encourage continual feedback and incorporate this into future updates, or looking for external direction for help improving their technology, such as by collaborating with provincial and health authority leaders to discover opportunities.
The creative and varied list of strategies suggested by Challenge teams indicates that, with some focussed thinking, health providers can increase the use and spread of innovative solutions, improving care and the patient experience for all Canadians.