Don’t go it alone: 3 reasons to call in the pros for your secure messaging rollout

It’s easy to see the inherent value in secure messaging for care teams, especially with a vendor you already know and trust.

What’s not so easy? Charting a path to effectively roll out secure messaging for more than 1,000 care team members.

Now that Munson Medical Center, a 442-bed hospital in northern Michigan, has successfully completed the initial rollout phase of Spok secure messaging to hundreds of staff, I’d love to share our lessons learned and why it was so critical to have the professionals—a small team from Spok Consulting Services—by our side every step of the way.

1. You don’t know what you don’t know

We found tremendous value in that Spok offers what many technology vendors don’t: A dedicated project manager that helps with rollout from start to finish, and brings the years of expertise and insight from many hospitals and health systems to aid your process. Our project manager conducted an all-day workshop with us to educate us on the rollout process and ensure everyone involved in administering the rollout was on the same page. She asked many smart questions that gave us an opportunity to review and discuss processes that would leverage positive outcomes. Because of the knowledge she brought to the table and the insights gleaned from other organizations she connected us with, we were able to go into this rollout with eyes wide open. We knew the variables at play and challenges we might expect, so there were no surprises that threw us off course on our journey to hospital-wide secure communications.

2. No need to reinvent the wheel

To bring all roles on board with secure messaging, you need to gain their buy-in by educating them on “what’s in it for me.” This means going beyond plain text emails and nondescript flyers. Demand their attention with marketing materials that clearly articulate the solution, why it’s being implemented, and how it will both improve patient safety and satisfaction and make their day-to-day workflows easier.

As an IT service manager, I know good marketing when I see it, but creating it from scratch is not my forte! And as most hospitals can attest, their own in-house marketing teams are overloaded already.  Another key benefit of working with Spok Consulting Services is that they bring all of that communication support with them. We were provided beautiful handbooks, flyers, and templates in addition to the technical documentation. Not only were we able to efficiently inform our staff of what’s coming, we were also able to generate buzz and excitement.

3. Free up staff and stick to your timeline

Working with the pros allows your staff the time to focus on other organizational priorities. There is no such thing as a typical day for a hospital IT team, so when fires arise, a surprise compliance visit occurs, or an EHR upgrade goes live, your team can jump on that without losing any momentum on a long-term project like a secure messaging application rollout. The Spok team works closely with you to make decisions, effectively manage your internal resources, and ensure milestones are achieved on schedule. The foundation Spok provides, plus the teamwork and divvying of responsibilities, was so key for Munson to be able to roll out secure messaging to our staff in a timely manner.

Results that speak for themselves

If you’re reading this post, you could be skeptical of the value of consulting services, and I was definitely in your shoes. I questioned it at first—would the additional investment be worth it?

I can now confidently say our decision to engage Spok in our roll-out plan was key to our success. Our Spok consulting team was professional, knowledgeable, and flexible with our schedule. They were familiar with our organizational culture and technical environment, and deeply understood where we want to go and how to help us get there. They built such strong relationships with our IT team that it honestly felt like they were a part of it, rather than a vendor stepping in to talk to leadership. They spent many hours on site with us, answered all of our key questions, and helped us overcome some difficult challenges.

Because of their commitment and our teamwork, I’m pleased to report that our initial rollout of Spok secure messaging was successful. Days 1 and 2 were quiet, but as word spread and staff started using the app and realizing the benefits, we soon had staff members lined up outside the door of our onboarding room. Select physician groups were included in the rollout at first, but word spread and soon we had doctors from other departments who were initially not on our rollout list request the app. We currently have a few hundred users live with the application, and expect to gradually expand that group to more than 1,000 by this summer.

A secure messaging rollout is much more complex than “set up and go.” It takes time and expertise to do things right. Invest in listening to the people who have done this rollout many times, and you will be successful.

By Mary Klein, IT Service Manager, Munson Healthcare

Topic: Secure Messaging