The healthcare system in the United States is constantly developing, requiring dynamic leadership and change to maintain quality, upkeep with medical breakthroughs, and manage the complex, multifaceted function of the hospital environment. In the recent decade, there have been significant calls from stakeholders for reforms in healthcare to ensure that patient needs are met, and higher standards are introduced. Transformational leadership with a rational and structured approach to change implementation can enhance the quality of medical services and improve medical professionals’ working conditions.
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Various frameworks and theories are utilized on a systemic level to implement innovations and meaningful change in the healthcare sector. They are effective since the result can be dynamically applied to different setting or issues (Moullin, Sabater-Hernández, Fernandez-Llimos, & Benrimoj, 2015). Health innovations are grounded in and affected by numerous measuring factors such as structural, organizational, provider, patient, and innovation levels (Chaudoir, Dugan, & Barr, 2013). Innovations depend on information technology systems such as electronic patient records that follow guidelines of data safety and cybersecurity as well abiding by principles of integration and interoperability (Rocha et al., 2013).
A prominent theory regarding adoption of information technology in healthcare and subsequent changes is known as Roger’s Innovation Diffusion Theory. The framework states that innovation is a technology, process or idea that is perceived as new, with diffusion being the most efficient manner of spreading it through the passing information amongst people in the social system (Zhang, Yu, Yan, & Spil, 2015). Innovation maintains certain qualities which make it appealing to users. Zhang et al. (2015) list them as “relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability” (p.3). Other factors which impact the adoption of innovation include communication and characteristics of adopters as well as the social system. Finally, the innovation should be meaningful, compatible with the workplace environment, and consistent, driving acceptance and use of particular information technologies.
Transformational leadership is a management style focused on interpersonal relations. A leader maintains trust and respect of followers who are motivated and seek guidance to achieve specific organizational objectives. The four dimensions of transformational leadership are an idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. As a management framework, it has been linked to improvement in employee attitudes and empowering work environments which lead to exceptional performance and better cohesiveness (Boamah, Laschinger, Wong, & Clarke, 2017). For nursing, such performance indicators demonstrate the increased quality of care and patient safety, critical for the recent trends of mitigating medical errors and risk of adverse events.
Innovations in health information technology combine technical, social, and organizational factors to address a systemic issue. This is inherently challenging since these aspects are inter-related have to be considered in terms of financial, technical, legal, and organizational capabilities for adoption (Cresswell, & Sheikh, 2013). Technological innovations that are implemented through change management and transformational leadership can have positive effects such reduction of medical errors, increase in quality of care and improvement of patient outcomes (Grol, Wensing, Eccles, & Davis, 2013). Transformational leadership and technological innovation has significant potential for applications in healthcare as it produces accurate patient data, reliable medical service, and has been proven to contribute to positive health behaviors (Free et al., 2013).
Methodology and Intervention
The methodology consists of an examination of information technologies which have been implemented in the last five years. Research findings are analyzed to isolate trends and challenges in adopting any innovative technologies using a literature review. A survey is then formulated and distributed in hospitals to determine on-site opinions about the need for greater technology use from both patients and staff members. Strategies for change management and transformational leadership are applied in the attempt to garner wider acceptance and support for technological implementation.
The intervention consists of:
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- Developing a survey grounded on literature review findings,
- Selecting a sample, conducting the survey, and analyzing its results,
- Elaboration of the algorithm to support the implementation of innovative technologies in healthcare.
Discussion and Action Plan
General change management plans are expected to be effective for organizations with an appropriate basis for the implementation of innovative technologies. Research results can be beneficial for health professionals seeking to improve the quality of care in their medical institutions. Transformational leadership differs from other management styles as it creates a deeper and valued relationship between the leader and employees. This framework allows leaders to engage with followers to achieve common goals. The inherent purpose of each role in the relationship becomes fused through mutual stimulation. Therefore, technological innovation is easier to introduce since a leader takes the initiative in setting a goal and then establishing ongoing communication with followers. Instead of a forced approach to adoption, both parties understand and anticipate each other’s needs and motivations which is empowering. The organizational culture and values gradually transform to embrace any meaningful change that benefits them as a collective.
It is likely that barriers to adoption will arise in the attempt to implement IT innovation. Decision-making of management regarding issues of technological implementation revolve around the value, complexity, and compatibility of health IT. Leaders should invest in the process at the strategic, operational and frontline levels. This includes alignment of organizational values, active involvement of staff, and providing training and preparation for the technological change in addition to assuring employment security for everyone involved (Ingebrigtsen et al., 2014). The action plan should address possible challenges of change management faced by staff and managers as the implementation process continues.
Limitations and Direction for Future Studies
Limitations of the intervention include that the general change management plan may not be universally applicable to all healthcare institutions. The survey findings are limited to evidence from a limited sample of hospitals. Therefore, models and implementation plans may vary in success depending on a variety of factors. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the plan or transformational leadership model in practical application is unknown since no experiment was conducted as it is not the purpose of this research. Future studies should be aimed at the practical adoption of change management and transformational leadership plans for innovative technologies in healthcare settings. It would help to evaluate the impact of change and the model’s efficiency in optimizing the system.
Development, implementation, and adoption of health IT innovations is a complex process that is inherently wrought with challenges. It requires careful planning, competent organization, and an appropriate environment to conduct interventions with change management. However, the outcomes are beneficial for the healthcare system and its employees and patients as the quality of healthcare increases while the process is optimized. Roger’s Innovation Diffusion Theory is a framework which helps to determine the necessary characteristics of the innovation and its adopting environment to ensure success. Meanwhile, the rationality, structure, and empowering approach of transformational leadership create the organizational climate necessary for implementation and enhancement of medical information technology innovations.
Boamah, S. A., Laschinger, H. K., Wong, C., & Clarke, S. (2018). Effect of transformational leadership on job satisfaction and patient safety outcomes. Nursing Outlook, 66(2), 180-189. Web.
Chaudoir, S., Dugan, A., & Barr, C. (2013). Measuring factors affecting implementation of health innovations: a systematic review of structural, organizational, provider, patient, and innovation level measures. Implementation Science, 8(1). Web.
Cresswell, K., & Sheikh, A. (2013). Organizational issues in the implementation and adoption of health information technology innovations: An interpretative review. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 82(5), 73-86.
Free, C., Phillips, G., Galli, L., Watson, L., Felix, L., Edwards, P.,… Haines, A. (2013). The effectiveness of mobile-health technology-based health behaviour change or disease management interventions for health care consumers: A systematic review. PLoS Medicine, 10. Web.
Grol, R., Wensing, M., Eccles, M., & Davis, D. (Eds.). (2013). Improving patient care: The implementation of change in health care (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Ingebrigtsen, T., Georgiou, A., Clay-Williams, R., Magrabi, F., Hordern, A., Prgomet, M.,… Braithwaite, J. (2014). The impact of clinical leadership on health information technology adoption: Systematic review. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 83(6), 393-405. Web.
Moullin, J., Sabater-Hernández, D., Fernandez-Llimos, F., & Benrimoj, S. (2015). A systematic review of implementation frameworks of innovations in healthcare and resulting generic implementation framework. Health Research Policy and Systems, 13(1). Web.
Rocha, A., Martins, A., Freire, J., Kamel Boulos, M., Vicente, M., Feld, R., … Rodriguez-Molinero, A. (2013). Innovations in health care services: The CAALYX system. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 82(11), e307-e320. Web.
Zhang, X., Yu, P., Yan, J., & Spil, I. T. (2015). Using diffusion of innovation theory to understand the factors impacting patient acceptance and use of consumer e-health innovations: A case study in a primary care clinic. BMC Health Services Research, 15(1). Web.