Four Rs: Your Resource for Effective Change Management

Medical team encouragement

The healthcare landscape is constantly shifting and adapting. Unfortunately, many larger policy decisions are made without the backing of healthcare leadership. As a healthcare leader, you are tasked with making decisions for your practice and bringing your staff on board. So, how can you manage change as a leader? Read on to discover the “Four Rs” of change management.

According to Tim Durkin, a leadership and change management consultant and owner of Seneca Leadership Programs, there are four steps to effectively managing change in any organization. Durkin conveniently names each step with words beginning with the letter “r.”

To adopt a new culture or initiative, everyone must get on board. For hospital executives to effectively lead change with their staff behind them, they should consider these items:

  1. An employee will always wonder “why” something is changing. So, if healthcare leaders can get in front of the question and explain the reason why the change is being made, clinicians have a chance to see the rationale. For example, a new EMR system may provide more access than the current system. Instead of simply implementing the change, explain “why” it’s happening and communicate this proactively.
  2. Everyone will be curious about the next steps. Hospital leaders should be able to speak to how a change will impact the organization. Providing a concrete goal, whether it’s to cut costs or decrease patient wait time, helps providers see a clear need once they understand the goal.
  3. Create a plan and a path for the changes to proceed throughout the hospital or health system. This informs staff members that there is a plan and helps them have confidence that their leadership has explored different angles of the change.
  4. Ultimately, your employees want to know how they will be affected by the change and what they can gain. If they are not impacted by the change, then inform them that their role stays the same. However, if you need them to step up in any fashion, communicate that as part of the change management plan. If expectations are clear and communication is proactive, leading your staff through change can be a seamless process.

By remembering to communicate the four Rs to your staff, you can help manage change in an open, transparent, and clear process. With all of your healthcare providers on board and aware of the changes, there shouldn’t be any reason for confusion or gossip. Instead, all providers can focus on the most important part of their jobs—putting patients first.

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