Strategic Implementation is the Key to Successful Technology Integration

Enclara Pharmacia has always made client onboarding key to its leadership in the hospice pharmacy community. As technology has become central to the company’s value proposition, Enclara has worked to build on that strength to support hospices in digital transformation.

Many of us have lived through a bumpy workplace technology rollout. Projects often fail to live up to their initial promise. That’s often because when it comes to enterprise technology, choosing the right product is just the first step. Successful implementation requires leadership, education and buy-in at every level of the organization.

“If you try to just drop in a new tool without a hard look at the processes behind it, you’re setting yourself up for failure,” said Enclara Director, Product Management Nicole Brnich. “At Enclara, we do a lot of investigation and risk analysis before we begin implementation.”

In the summer of 2019, Enclara Pharmacia’s newly formed Digital Team took a deeper dive into utilization data for the company’s E3 Mobile patient management app. They noticed that some hospices were immediately getting up to speed and realizing significant efficiencies as a result. Others were lagging behind, with uneven or even nonexistent utilization. It would have been tempting to conclude that as long as some organizations were successful with the tool, the rest just weren’t trying hard enough. Director of Digital Solutions Management Erin Dwyer had another explanation.

“Enclara prides itself on delivering custom pharmacy solutions to meet the unique needs of each client, but we weren’t living up to that on the digital side,” Dwyer said. “We had fallen into a one-size-fits-all approach.”

With that realization, Dwyer and other members of the team took another look at the barriers some hospices were experiencing. They found that the high-utilization hospices had gone into the implementation process with existing workflows that were well-suited to automation. The low-utilization hospices had bottlenecks in their process that created frustration for nurses trying to use Enclara’s digital tools.

Over the next few months, Dwyer led the development of a more structured, consultative approach. Cross-departmental collaboration played a big part. Enclara’s inpatient unit operations team has long used a workflow assessment for hospices interested in automated dispensing systems. The Digital Team developed their own, with up to 85 questions that help identify unique training needs and opportunities to improve overall workflows.

“The workflow assessment has allowed us to take a much more tailored approach,” Dwyer said. “We’ve been able to harness a lot of experience across the organization to create something unique. At the same time, we find that it engages the hospice leadership in the process by really making them think about their processes. What we’re offering isn’t just a tool, it’s a partnership”

What started as a project to improve digital utilization among a few hospices has become a way to add even more value for many. The same workflow modifications that allow for a smooth E3 implementation also reflect general best practices. For instance, Dwyer’s team recently worked with a hospice that had a 48-hour lag between intake for new admissions and entry into the electronic medical record (EMR). This created problems for E3, which pulls patient profiles from the EMR in order to place new orders. However, it also led to other issues for the hospice. Enclara provided additional impetus for a needed change. “That became a risk point that we escalated along with others. We work with the hospice to understand why we’re recommending they change that workflow. Then we work to tailor training content in support of that change,” Dwyer said. “In the end able to spend less time on process and more time with patients thanks to the changes we help facilitate.”

These innovations have also increased Enclara’s Digital Team level of collaboration with their own colleagues. They now work more closely with account management and the EMR interface team to provide a seamless experience for clients and greater innovation across the company.

“Breaking up parts of a process between teams is essential to get things done, but you can become like a dog chasing its own tail,” Brnich said. “Those teams need to form strategic partnerships that keep everybody working toward the same goal, which is to support a hospice in every aspect of digital transformation.

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