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Over the last few decades, change management philosophies and practices have been introduced, cultivated, adopted and evolved from theoretical concepts to fundamental practices throughout the business world. As the evolution continues, practitioners are moving from the principles outlined in change management to the practical application of steps in organizational change readiness that ensure that organizations as a whole are ready to move forward.

Examining the differences between change management and change readiness requires an understanding of them. Change management is defined as the management of change and development within a business or the identification and implementation of required changes within a computer system. Change readiness is the ability to initiate and respond to change in ways that create an advantage, minimize risk and sustain performance. Change readiness is the evolution of change management practices, focused on the best outcomes for the individual or organization going through the change.

Both are widely used throughout business and IT, but as organizational processes evolve, the way we manage change should too.

Not all changes alter the fundamental way that businesses operate and not all changes impact every aspect of an organization and its customers – the way electronic health records do.  For this reason, it’s important to move from the principles of change management to the application of change readiness.

To ensure that your organization is prepared to adopt a major fundamental change, it is vital to assess your organization’s capacity for change. Take the time to understand current processes and why people would resist changes to those processes. Don’t chalk resistance up to ‘people just don’t want to change’. Why don’t they want to change? And what can be done to ease the transition?

Once you’ve developed an understanding of your current state, the next and most vital aspect of any change is communication. But it’s not enough to simply communicate the change to impacted individuals.  Engagement and two-way communication are the only way to effectively deliver change. Listening is as important, if not more important than talking. It’s also important to promote transparency through honest and open dialogue.

Finally, measuring selected performance indicators is the key to determining the effectiveness of the intended change. By selecting a few key performance indicators (KPIs), you can stay focused on the areas of greatest importance.  Learning, adoption, and value are three typical KPIs as they are included in almost every change. If you’re able to effectively educate your users on the change, help them through the adoption of the new technology or process, and educate them on the value of the change, more often than not, you’ve set your organization up for a successful change.

Change management has evolved into change readiness just as the businesses we serve have evolved the way they work.  If we assess, communicate and measure change practices throughout the life of the change, we not only ensure that the change itself will be successful, but we’re also ensuring long-term success for the organization and less tension for employees. Focusing on the people impacted by the change will create advantageous outcomes and sustained performance throughout all of the changes to come.

Optimum Healthcare IT has experienced leaders in organizational change readiness and years of experience ushering organizations through electronic health record adoption, and enterprise resource management system upgrades. Our experts can assist you in developing and properly implementing change readiness and leadership processes that can enable a greater volume of useful change than would be possible without it.

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